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South Korea Preparing for Possible Provocations from North Korea


South Korea's military says it is preparing for the possibility that North Korea may try to provoke a naval skirmish along their disputed sea border.

A Defense Ministry report to parliament Wednesday said the military is preparing for the possibility that the North may launch attacks on naval ships or seize South Korean fishing boats.

Relations have been steadily deteriorating in recent weeks as Pyongyang has sealed off its border. North Korea has also ordered the expulsion of hundreds of South Koreans working at a joint industrial estate in the North.

The North says its actions are in protest of what it calls "South Korea's confrontational policies."

Ties have steadily worsened since conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak stepped into office in February.

Mr. Lee campaigned on pledges to take a tougher stance on cross-border ties. His election marked the end of 10 years of liberal rule in South Korea.

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