TOKYO (Sputnik) – Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, has ordered the country’s army to bring the troops to full combat readiness following the Thursday exchange of fire between North and South Korea, the Yonhap News Agency reports.
North Korea’s frontline forces should be fully prepared for an offensive starting from 17:00 local time on Friday (08:00 GMT), the South Korean news agency said, citing the North Korean Central Broadcasting Station.
The order came after North Korea held a Central Military Commission session following an exchange of fire between North and South Korea across the demilitarized zone – the first major armed clash between the neighbors in five years.
On August 10, Seoul began broadcasting military propaganda over the border toward North Korea, a practice it had suspended over a decade earlier. The sudden change came after two South Korean staff sergeants were injured due to a suspected landmine explosion to the south of the demilitarized zone on August 4. South Korea blamed the incident on the North.
The North Korean People's Army warned on Saturday that it would destroy the South Korean loudspeaker systems located near the demilitarized zone, if Seoul continues to operate them.
On Thursday, North Korea fired shells at a South Korean military base across the demilitarized zone. Seoul responded by firing back dozens of heavy artillery rounds.
Seoul and Pyongyang signed a ceasefire after the 1950-1953 Korean War, but the countries formally remain in a state of war.