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S. Korea sees high chance of N. Korea's additional provocation

2016/08/29 12:22

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Monday that there is an "ample" possibility of the North making additional provocations during ongoing joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.

Seoul's unification ministry said North Korea is likely to take further provocative action following last week's test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in response to the allies' two-week military exercise which kicked off on Aug. 22.

"It seems that North Korea is not just making (verbal) threats. There is an ample possibility of the North making additional provocations," Jeong Joon-hee, ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing. "We are keeping close tabs on the situation and preparing against any developments."

   On Wednesday, North Korea fired off an SLBM toward Japan. It flew some 500 kilometers, marking the longest flight by such a missile.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared the launch as "the greatest success," saying that Pyongyang has the full capability to carry out nuclear attacks.

Pyongyang's state media said that Kim has instructed officials to "take a series of all eventful actions" to display North Korea's military prowess if Seoul and Washington threaten the dignity of Pyongyang.

On March 15, Kim said that a nuclear warhead test and a test-fire of ballistic missiles able to carry nuclear warheads will be conducted in a short time.

"As the North's leader handed down the orders in March and North Korea has yet to fully carry out his instructions, the country is seeking to put pressure on Seoul by threatening to take various actions," Jeong said.

The spokesman, meanwhile, strongly warned North Korea that it will face grave consequences if it continues to insult President Park Geun-hye with vulgar language.

Jeong called on North Korea to suspend its "rash" acts of insulting the South's leader as Pyongyang's state and non-government agencies have issued a series of statements condemning Park.

"North Korea should first look back at itself and end its rash acts," he said. "If not, the North will pay a corresponding price."

   sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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