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(LEAD) Military prepared against possible N.K. provocations during Park's overseas trip

2016/03/29 17:06

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS background in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's military is ready to deal with any possible North Korean provocations during President Park Geun-hye's visit to the United States and Mexico later this week, the country's defense ministry said Tuesday.

Park is scheduled to fly to Washington on Wednesday to take part in the Nuclear Security Summit and hold talks with her U.S., Chinese and Japanese counterparts. She is also expected to visit Mexico to further bilateral economic ties and return the next week.

Asked whether the ministry is preparing for North Korean provocations during Park's foreign trip, spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said, "Preparations are being made for that sort of possibility."

   "Since North Korea has recently made various threats, (the ministry) is seeking countermeasures against all eventualities," he noted.

The government has warned of the possibility of North Korea launching terrorist attacks in the rear areas of South Korea.

Ratcheting up its unusually bellicose rhetoric, North Korea threatened to launch strikes on Seoul and engulf Cheong Wa Dae, the presidential house, in a sea of fire in recent weeks.

As tensions heightened, Park has called for military readiness and overwhelming deterrence against the North.