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N. Korean leader orders military to have full combat readiness

2015/08/21 08:16

SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered front-line troops to have full combat readiness against South Korea as he declared a "quasi-state of war," the North's state media said Friday, raising tension after both Koreas exchanged fire across the western border.

Kim has convened an emergency meeting of the ruling party's central military commission hours after the exchange of fire and ordered chief commanders to go to front-line troops to prepare for military operations, the North's Korean Central Television reported.

"Commanders of the Korean People's Army were hastily dispatched to the front-line troops to command military operations to destroy psychological warfare tools if the enemy does not stop the propaganda broadcast within 48 hours and prepare against the enemy's possible counteractions," the broadcaster said.

The exchange started when the North fired a rocket into a front-line border town on Thursday afternoon, which prompted South Korean front-line troops to counter with artillery fire. No casualties were reported.

Shortly after the shelling, North Korea issued a fresh threat to take military action if South Korea does not stop its anti-Pyongyang propaganda campaign.

Pyongyang had threatened to carry out "indiscriminate strikes" on South Korea unless Seoul halted the broadcasts.

The two Koreas have traded a war of words over the broadcasts that South Korea resumed on Aug. 10 in retaliation for a land mine attack earlier this month that left two South Korean soldiers severely injured.

South Korea accused the North of planting the mines inside the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas, a charge denied by North Korea.

North Korea has bristled at South Korea's propaganda campaign amid concern that an influx of outside information could pose a threat to its leader.