중앙데일리

North’s threat won’t stop aid

South’s forces not put on alert

Jan 18,2010

Despite North Korea’s threat of an attack on the South on Friday, Seoul said it will take a wait-and-see attitude until it verifies the North’s intentions, and proceed with planned food aid. North Korea showed no special signs of military action against the South as of yesterday.

According to South Korean military sources, North Korean forces were not conducting exercises that would require South Korea to go on alert as of yesterday. No signs of short-range missile launches were detected.

However, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il inspected a joint training of ground, naval and air forces, the Korean Central News Agency reported yesterday. It did not specify the date and showed only four related photos.

It’s the first time the reclusive state’s media mouthpiece has made such an inspection public since he became supreme commander of the country’s military in December 1992. South Korean military sources say the disclosure is part of the North’s efforts to show off its preparedness.

Kim was reported as saying that the North’s armies have “been fortified into a strong revolutionary force equipped with modern means of attack and defense” after watching the exercise with other key officials.

The report said, “The elaborate cooperation of planes, fleets and ground cannons have covered the enemy group with a ruthless fire shower, shattering the enemy territory,” indicating the exercise was targeted at South Korea.

South Korean defense authorities said they are closely monitoring the North’s movements, but that it is not considered to be getting ready to launch an attack. “Although North Korea is sending complicated signals, the chance of the country reversing its attitude toward South Korea doesn’t seem high,” said a high-ranking Korean government official.

South Korean sources say that North Korea’s true intentions will be revealed in whether it agrees to take part in a scheduled meeting on Tuesday between North and South officials to discuss the outcomes of joint trips to overseas industrial complexes.

The original threat from Pyongyang was a response to news that the South had completed a contingency plan on North Korea. The North’s National Defense Commission released a statement saying it will exclude Seoul from all future peace talks and launch a “holy war of retaliation.”


By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]



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