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Military chief orders powerful retaliation against N. Korean provocation

2015/08/18 15:01

SEOUL, Aug. 18 (Yonhap) -- The military chief ordered front-line soldiers Tuesday to react with "powerful retaliation" to any recurrence of North Korean provocations at the border, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

"If the enemy provokes again, do not hesitate and retaliate resolutely and powerfully," Adm. Choi Yoon-hee, chairman of the JCS, told the commander of a military unit on the eastern border, according to the JCS.

Choi visited the front-line unit earlier in the day to inspect its combat readiness posture in the wake of North Korea's recent land mine detonation on the South Korean side of the demilitarized zone.

Choi inspected an observation post only 1.3 kilometers away from a North Korean front-line guard post, and checked on a recently-launched loudspeaker propaganda operation in the area, the JCS said.

He also examined the military unit's vigilance and other operations in the DMZ, according to the JCS.

"The reason why North Korea is reacting sensitively to psychological warfare is our psychological operations pose fears bigger than those posed by any other high-tech weapons," Choi said, referring to the propaganda campaign that South Korea launched last week.

For the first time in 11 years, South Korea fully resumed its cross-border propaganda campaign, a sort of psychological warfare, in retaliation for the North's mine provocation.

Two South Korean staff sergeants were maimed as three land mines believed to have been buried by the North exploded in the southern half of the DMZ on Aug. 4.

The North, in return, has also revived its propaganda broadcasting at the border, for the first time since an inter-Korean agreement suspended it in 2004.

A large-scale joint military exercise launched Monday between South Korea and the United States, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, is also fueling military tension on the peninsula with the North threatening counteractions to what it denounces as a rehearsal for invasion.

Also on Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Lee Sang-hoon, the chief commander of the Marine Corps, completed his two-day combat posture inspection of the country's five front-line islands in the Yellow Sea, including Yeonpyeong Island, where North Korea launched deadly shelling attacks in 2010.

During the inspection, which started on Monday, Lee also instructed troops to "pull the trigger boldly" if provoked by the North, according to a news release from the Marine Corps.

"If the North provokes, put all the grievances about the Cheonan ship torpedoing, the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island and the latest DMZ wooden-box mine explosion under the name of the Marine Corps and retaliate," Lee was quoted as saying during the visit.

pbr@yna.co.kr

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