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North Korea warns Seoul over propaganda broadcasts

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Seoul: North Korea on Thursday warned of military action unless South Korea stops propaganda broadcasts in border areas within 48 hours, Seoul’s defence ministry said on Thursday.
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The warning message urged South Korea’s frontline army units to stop propaganda broadcasts within 48 hours and remove all available facilities for psychological warfare, Xinhua news agency reported.

Unless the South Korean military follows the call, North Korean forces will launch military actions, Pyongyang further warned.

The message was sent after North Korea earlier in the day fired a shell toward South Korea near its border. The South Korean military retaliated with scores of shells.

The North Korean shell landed in a hill near South Korea’s army units. No damages and casualties have been reported yet.

Tensions escalated over the inter-Korean border after two South Korean soldiers were maimed by the explosion of landmines, which South Korea claimed was planted by Pyongyang.

North Korea has denied the allegation.

In retaliation for the provocation, the South Korean military resumed the propaganda broadcasts for the first time in about 11 years with loudspeakers, which North Korea called “a direct action of declaring war.”

(IANS)

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S.Korea Removes N.Korea As Its ‘Enemy’ In Its Military Policy Document

The Defense Ministry says North Korea maintains an active duty force of 1.28 million troops, compared with the South’s 599,000 active duty troops.

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Korea, Enemy
South and North Korean officials unveil the sign of Seoul to Pyeongyang during a groundbreaking ceremony for the reconnection of railways and roads at the Panmun Station in Kaesong, North Korea, Dec. 26, 2018. VOA

South Korea has dropped a reference to North Korea as its “enemy” in the military’s updated policy document, reflecting President Moon Jae-in’s initiative in achieving détente with Pyongyang.

The Defense Ministry has labeled the North as enemy in its biennial policy document since 2010, when 50 South Koreans were killed in separate attacks on an island and a naval vessel blamed on Pyongyang.

The absence of the “enemy” label in the 2018 document, published Tuesday, is likely to anger conservatives in South Korea, who say that President Moon’s efforts to build better relations with the regime of Kim Jong Un is undermining the South’s defense posture.

Korea, Enemy
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inside the Peace House at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, April 27, 2018. VOA

Kim’s New Year’s Day speech in 2017 offering to send a contingent of North Korean athletes to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea set off a series of diplomatic breakthroughs, including three summits with President Moon.

The newly established diplomatic ties have also led to a set of confidence-building measures, including dismantling dozens of all armed guard posts and landmines in the so-called Joint Security Area located within the 250-kilometer demilitarized zone (DMZ), where troops from both Koreas are face to face.

The South Korean Defense Ministry paper warns that North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction, a reference to its nuclear and missile program, continues to pose a “threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

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The Defense Ministry says North Korea maintains an active duty force of 1.28 million troops, compared with the South’s 599,000 active duty troops. The regime either possesses or is developing 14 different types of ballistic missiles, including five intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with a range of more than 5,500 kilometers. The North also owns “a considerable amount” of highly enriched uranium, along with 50 kilograms of weaponized plutonium. (VOA)