N.K threatens to destroy S.K loudspeakers, turn Seoul into 'sea of flame'

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N.K threatens to destroy S.K loudspeakers, turn Seoul into 'sea of flame'

North Korea's military threatened Saturday that it will destroy South Korean propaganda loudspeakers along its border and may even turn Seoul into a "sea of flame," in the strongest warning yet against Seoul's plan to resume anti-Pyongyang broadcasts.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, however, "no unusual activity" has currently been spotted from North Korea along the military demarcation line.

South Korea established propaganda loudspeakers in 11 places along the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone earlier this week in retaliation to the March 26 sinking of one of the South's military warships. Seoul blames Pyongyang for the sinking that killed 46 seamen. The North denies involvement.

North Korean armed forces "will launch an all-out military strike to blow up the group's means for the psychological warfare against the DPRK in all areas along the front," the North's General Staff of the Korean People's Army said in a "crucial declaration" carried in the North's Korean Central News Agency. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea has already warned it will shoot down loudspeakers if the broadcasts resume.

Seoul plans to begin anti-North Korea broadcasts after the U.N. Security Council carries out its action over the ship sinking. The psychological warfare was stopped in a 2004 inter-Korean agreement amid thawing ties.

"From a military point of view that a psychological warfare is one of the basic operational forms for carrying out a war, the installing of such means for the above-said warfare is a direct declaration of a war against the DPRK," the General Staff said.

"It should bear in mind that the military retaliation of the DPRK is a merciless strike foreseeing even the turn of Seoul, the stronghold of the group of traitors, into a sea of flame," it warned.

South Korea asked the U.N. Security Council last week to take up the sinking. A team of South Korean and foreign investigators will brief the Council next week on North Korea's suspected involvement.

Investigators from South Korea, the United States, Britain, Australia and Sweden concluded last month that a North Korean submarine sank the warship Cheonan with a torpedo. The team presented hard evidence, such as torpedo parts collected from the scene.

Key to getting the Council to rebuke the North is winning support from Pyongyang's traditional backers China and Russia. The two countries have expressed reservations about censuring the North. Still, representatives from Beijing and Moscow are expected to attend next week's briefing, officials said.

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`북한 도발시 몇 배 응징태세 갖춰`

군당국은 12일 북한군이 남측 확성기 설치에 대해 '전면적 군사적 타격행동에 진입할 것'이라고 주장한 것에 대해 대북 감시태세를 강화하는 등 촉각을 세우고 있다.

군은 북한이 지난달 24일 확성기 조준 격파사격 경고에 이어 이날 '서울의 불바다'를 운운하며 군사적 타격을 주장하는 등 위협수위가 고조됨에 따라 대비태세를 강화하고 있다.

군당국은 북한의 천안함 어뢰공격에 대한 대응조치로 대북 심리전 재개와 함께 대북 확성기를 설치했으며, 북한군은 '심리전 수단 설치는 직접적인 선전포고'라고 강력히 반발하는 등 군사분계선(MDL) 일대에서 군사적 긴장이 고조되는 상황이다.

심리전의 도구인 대북 확성기는 서해 교동도와 김포반도를 비롯한 MDL 일대 등 11곳에 설치되어 있으며 북측에서 관측되지 않도록 엄폐된 것으로 알려졌다.

앞으로 군은 현재 송출되고 있는 심리전 방송의 내용을 확성기를 통해 MDL 북쪽으로 방송할 계획이다.

지난 2004년 6월 중지된 확성기 방송의 재개 시점은 정해지지 않았으나 유엔 안보리에서 천안함에 대한 조치가 나온 이후 시행될 것으로 전망된다.
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