North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared his front-line troops were in a ‘quasi-state of war’ Friday and ordered them to prepare for battle, a day before the most serious confrontation with South Korea in years.
Stern warnings have continued to flow back and forth across the border between North Korea and South Korea as a North-imposed deadline for the South to shut off propaganda broadcasts or face war.
Kim Jong Un, the supreme commander of the North Korean military, ordered front-line units along the heavily fortified frontier to move to a war footing Friday evening, state media reported.
This follows a high ranking meeting of military officials led by the North Korean Leader which held on Thursday night, 20th of August according to a military source.
The source gave no details on what kind of military retaliation North Korea would see as appropriate punishment for South Korea’s shelling of its territory Thursday.
It’s the latest challenge in the regional feud. South Korea warned Friday that North Korea was likely to launch “provocations” if Seoul did not meet a Saturday deadline to cease propaganda broadcasts.
Kim Yong Chol, director of the general reconnaissance bureau of the North Korean army, on Friday denied South Korean allegations that Pyongyang has been raising tensions on the peninsula.
He denied the North fired anything across the Demilitarized Zone and says South Korea has not offered conclusive evidence where the rocket was launched in the North, or where exactly it landed in the South.
He suggested human error might have been a factor on the South Korean side and says the South’s decision to retaliate with its own barrage was dangerous and rash.
The tensions have escalated since South Korea accused the rival North of shelling a border town on Thursday and retaliated with dozens of artillery rounds. North Korea has threatened further action unless Seoul ends loudspeaker broadcasts of anti-Pyongyang propaganda at the border.
South Korea has ordered its military on top alert and vowed to sternly deal with any North Korean provocations.
The Ministry of National Defense says: “South Korea will strongly retaliate against any kind of North Korean attacks and the North will have to take all the responsibility for such … actions.
South Korean officials said some residents of the area targeted by North Korea on Thursday had to be evacuated, although many have since returned.