News / Asia

N. Korea Puts Troops on Alert Over US-Led Military Drill

FILE - North Korea's Worker-Peasant Red Guard members attend a parade marking the 1948 establishment of North Korea, in Pyongyang, Sept. 9, 2013.
FILE - North Korea's Worker-Peasant Red Guard members attend a parade marking the 1948 establishment of North Korea, in Pyongyang, Sept. 9, 2013.
North Korea has placed its military on alert and warned of "disastrous consequences" in response to a planned U.S.-led military drill near the Korean peninsula.

A North Korean military spokesman told state media all troops have been ordered to "keep themselves ready to promptly launch operations at any time."

South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok confirmed North Korea's military has been placed on high alert.

"Our armed forces are closely monitoring the North Korean military's movements and are fully prepared to take a decisive action against the North's possible provocations," he said.

The North Korean threat comes as U.S. warships deployed to the South Korean port of Busan for what officials describe as a routine search and rescue drill with the South Korean and Japanese navies.

North Korea appears particularly upset about the participation of the USS George Washington, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.  

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a report claiming the ship was carrying "at least 100 nuclear bombs aboard." It said the closer U.S. forces get to North Korea, "the more unpredictable disasters their actions will cause."

Pyongyang often threatens military action in response to the U.S.-South Korean drills, but rarely follows through.

The three-day trilateral exercise off Busan was due to start on Tuesday but was postponed due to the passage of a typhoon through the region. No new date was announced.

A South Korean officer quoted by Yonhap said the USS George Washington is on standby after moving from Busan to a safer area to ride out the typhoon.

Leonid Petrov, a Korea analyst at the Australian National University, tells VOA he views the North Korean threats as part of a "seasonal type" of escalation.

"Every time the United States' and the Republic of Korea's naval or aerial exercises take place on the southern side of the peninsula, the North Koreans take it very seriously," said Petrov.

Petrov says North Korea views the drills as preparation to invade, a sentiment he says reflects the ongoing tension surrounding the Korean War.

"The Korean War is technically still going on, and every time the military on one side or the other is beefing up its forward deployed military, the other side reacts and sometimes overreacts," he said.

The North's war-like rhetoric reached a peak not seen in years following international condemnation of its nuclear weapon test in February. At its worst point, North Korea was issuing near-daily threats of nuclear war against the U.S. and its regional allies.

Relations had recently shown signs of improvement, with the two Koreas reaching tentative agreements on resuming a series of cross-border projects, including a symbolic joint factory that had served as a bellwether of Korean ties.

But the KCNA article warned that "the situation on the Korean peninsula is getting strained again." It said this is "entirely attributable" to what it called the "persistent anti-DPRK military confrontation of the U.S. and Japanese aggressors and South Korean puppet forces."

South Korean lawmakers say North Korea also appears to have taken a step toward restarting its nuclear weapons program. The lawmakers said South Korea's National Intelligence Service told them in a closed briefing that the North recently restarted its plutonium reactor at Yongbyon.

North Korea threatened to restart the aging reactor in April but has not confirmed such a move. The reactor could be used to produce nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang had shut down the reactor as part of six-party negotiations on dismantling its nuclear weapons program in return for aid. Those talks have been stalled for years.

Michael Lipin contributed to this story

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 08, 2013 2:34 PM
What is the problem with North Korea? What is so special about this country that thrives on threatening others always. How strong is its army that cannot be defeated? How many nuclear weapons launch sites does it have that cannot be clipped? When Kim Jung Il died, the world expected a change in North Korea's diplomatic blunders, but that was not be when Kim Jung Un, looking an overfed frog, took over from his father. At an underage, a nucleated mad kingdom like North Korea should not be left in the hands of a minor like him. If at 60 his father reasoned like a baby, what does the world expect from a 28yr old brat? But something particularly surprising should happen out there to dislodge the threat. Saying it has threatened so often without making good of it does not warrant the risk of allowing a nuclear armed madman in North Korea to keep threatening. One day the madman may binge much more than usual on a different Russian, Chinese or Iranian wine and in the stupor decree something not only himself but the whole world will regret thereafter. Therefore let something be done in the present to avoid a disaster in the future. For the Koreans mean business of a nuclear bomb attack.


by: Samantha Lumley from: UK
October 08, 2013 11:34 AM
you see the NK depravity...??? now imagine Iran - with their own unique brand of islamic depravity - threatening Saudi Arabia or Europe with a nuclear annihilation... what would you do then...???

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid