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South Korean troops told to be ready

Oct 12,2006
In a message to the armed forces, Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung gave orders yesterday to be ready around the clock to repel any possible threat and provocation from North Korea, the Defense Ministry said.
“The ministry has assurances that the United States is committed to its nuclear umbrella ... and the two countries are working closely to share intelligence,” the message said.
Right after North Korea’s reported nuclear weapon test on Monday, South Korea sent more troops to land and sea borders and activated task forces for crisis management.
But it is maintaining its usual surveillance and defense levels. The troops are currently at the Watchcon 3 surveillance status and Defcon 4 defense readiness status.
When tensions rise and provocative acts occur, the alert status is upgraded. In an all-out war, it is raised to Watchcon 1 and Defcon 1. When a Defcon defense status is upgraded, the top U.S. commander, who heads the South Korea-U.S. combined forces command here, takes over wartime operational control of South Korea’s military.
In June 1999, when a naval battle between South and North Korea took place, the first of its kind since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, South Korean forces were put on Watchcon 2 surveillance status but the Defcon alert level was not raised.
The two Koreas are still technically in a state of war, because the war ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
About 30,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea.


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