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S. Korea keeps close tabs on N.K.'s possible provocations

2017/10/07 10:10

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SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is closely watching the possibility of North Korea's provocative acts ahead of the founding anniversary of its ruling party, but there is no clear sign of them, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Saturday.

Seoul has kept close tabs on North Korea's possible provocations as North Korea will mark key anniversaries next week. Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of late former leader Kim Jong-il's ascent to general secretary of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). The 72nd anniversary of the WPK's founding falls on Tuesday.

"The government is closely monitoring the situation, given the possibility of North Korea's provocations around the party anniversary," a presidential official said.

"But there has been no specific sign of provocative acts. If the North makes another provocation, Seoul will sternly respond to it under close coordination with the U.S. and the international community," he said.

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test last month and fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

Tensions have heightened over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earlier vowing to take the "highest-level" action against the U.S.

In September, Kim issued a rare statement condemning U.S. President Donald Trump for threatening to "totally destroy" the North over its nuclear and missile threats. Pyongyang said it could detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.

Seoul's presidential office has been running a special monitoring system during this year's unusually long 10-day Chuseok fall harvest holiday, which will end on Monday.

Cheong Wa Dae also pointed to Oct. 18, the opening day of the 19th national congress by China's Communist Party, as a possible date of North Korean action.