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Defense minister warns against N. Korea's tactical provocation

2017/08/11 18:00

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SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense minister on Friday called on the military to heighten readiness to counter North Korea's deceptive surprise provocations, officials said.

Song Young-moo made the remark during a video conference with major military commanders one day after North Korea threatened ballistic missile strikes near the U.S. Pacific Island of Guam, home to U.S. bombers.

"North Korea has recently continued its strategic provocations, but it can also stage deceptive tactical provocations at any time," Song was quoted as saying by Seoul's defense ministry.

"Therefore, the military should keep its full readiness to immediately and sternly carry out retaliation with strong force," the minister said.

Tensions have been rising amid exchanges of bellicose rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. following the repressive country's tests of two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

On Thursday, Pyongyang said it was considering firing four intermediate-range ballistic missiles into waters near Guam in its tit-for-tat rhetoric against the U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier said that the North will be met with "fire and fury" if it continues to endanger the U.S.

"North Korea is posing a grave threat to the Seoul-Washington alliance and the international community as it is leveling up war rhetoric, such as turning Seoul into a sea of fire and missile strikes around Guam," Song said.

This photo provided by the defense ministry on July</p><p>17, 2017, shows Defense Minister Song Young-moo (R) visiting the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Yonhap) This photo provided by the defense ministry on July

17, 2017, shows Defense Minister Song Young-moo (R) visiting the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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