Post link 21 August 2015, 20:41
Kim Jong-un warns North Korea to be 'fully ready for war' after South Korea artillery exchange


The dictator declared a "quasi-state of war" and warned that he would put troops on a "fully armed state of war" starting from 5pm on Friday

Tensions: Kim Jong-un issued stern warnings to South Korea

Kim Jong-un has warned North Korea's military to be 'fully ready for war' as tensions rise following an exchange of artillery fire with South Korea, it has been reported.

The dictator declared a "quasi-state of war" following an emergency meeting of military leaders, according to KCNA news agency.

He warned that he would put troops on a "fully armed state of war" starting from 5pm on Friday.

It came as South Korea fired a barrage of artillery rounds into North Korea on Thursday after the North shelled across the border to protest against anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts by Seoul.

Washington urged Pyongyang to halt any "provocative" actions in the wake of the first exchange of fire between the two Koreas since last October.

Both sides said there were no casualties or damage in their territory.
War? South Korean President Park Geun-hye and dictator Kim Jong-un

North Korea did not return fire but warned Seoul in a letter that it would take military action if the South did not stop the broadcasts along the border within 48 hours, the South's Defence Ministry said.

In a separate letter, Pyongyang said it was willing to resolve the issue even though it considered the broadcasts a declaration of war, South Korea's Unification Ministry said.

A South Korean military official said the broadcasts would continue.

Seoul began blasting anti-North Korean propaganda from loudspeakers on the border on August 10, resuming a tactic that both sides had stopped in 2004. North Korean military are ready for war

South Korea said the North had fired one anti-aircraft shell followed by multiple shells on Thursday.

South Korea's military, which said it fired "tens" of artillery rounds in response, raised its alert status to the highest level.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye told defence officials to "react firmly" to North Korean provocations, a spokesman quoted her as saying.

"Our military has stepped up monitoring and is closely watching North Korean military movements," South Korea's Defence Ministry said.

The North Korean army said the South fired 36 rounds, six of which landed near its guard posts, in a "reckless provocation," KCNA said.

The United States, which has about 28,500 military personnel in South Korea, said it was concerned and closely monitoring the situation.

US State Department spokesperson Katina Adams said: "Such provocative actions heighten tensions, and we call on Pyongyang to refrain from actions and rhetoric that threaten regional peace and security."

The Pentagon said it would "take prudent measures" to ensure the well-being of US personnel, but did not elaborate.

The first North Korean shell landed in an area about 60 km (35 miles) north of Seoul in the western part of the border zone, the defence ministry said.

Nearly 800 South Korean residents living nearby were ordered to evacuate and stay in shelters, officials said.

North Korea said the South's military "invented a case of 'shell fired by the North'," according to KCNA.

The two Koreas last exchanged fire in October, when North Korean soldiers approached the military border and did not retreat after the South fired warning shots, the South Korean Defence Ministry said at the time. There were no casualties.

Tension between the two Koreas has risen since early this month, when landmine explosions in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) of the border wounded two South Korean soldiers.

Seoul accused North Korea of laying the mines, which Pyongyang has denied.

The incident prompted Seoul to stage the propaganda broadcasts.

North Korea on Monday began conducting its own broadcasts.

Thursday's exchange of fire took place during annual joint US and South Korean military exercises.

The two Koreas have remained in a technical state of war since the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

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