North warns its people of attack

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North warns its people of attack

Amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea has urged its people to raise their combat readiness to protect their rulers from a military attack by the United States.

Meanwhile North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made a visit to a machinery factory known to be used for missile development.

Radio Free Asia quoted an unnamed source in North Hamkyong, North Korea, as saying the central government ordered local organizations and companies to be prepared for a war and to protect the Supreme Command of the North’s Korean People’s Army from attacks by the United States.

“North Korea seems to be preparing for combat as North Korean workers, government officers and soldiers are all wearing military uniforms,” the source said. The source said people were ordered to wear uniforms from Feb. 20.

The source said many people are anxious about the possibility of a U.S. attack and war. Another source in North Hamkyong said some North Koreans laugh at Pyongyang’s assertion that North Korea is a “strong military power.”

On Feb. 23, the North’s Supreme Command said in a statement reported by the North’s state media that North Korea had identified targets it would strike, starting with the Blue House in Seoul, U.S. military bases in Asia and also the U.S. mainland.

It was denouncing the annual joint military drill by South Korea and the United States, which will start on Monday and be the largest ever. Pyongyang criticizes the drill as a practice for invasion and war.

In response to the North’s threat, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff urged Pyongyang to stop its provocations, saying any direct attack would expedite the collapse of its dictatorship.

North Korean leader Kim recently inspected the Thaesong Machine Factory, which is known as a key plant for the manufacturing of missile parts.

Kim stressed the necessity of modernizing the factory.

“The work of modernizing the factory should be dealt with as an important and strategic affair related to the future of the development of the country’s machine-building industry,” the North’s Korean Central News Agency reported on Wednesday although it didn’t specify the exact day and time of Kim’s visit.

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on Feb. 7, which both violated United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The latest draft of a United Nations Security Council resolution calls for new sanctions to punish the North for the nuclear test and missile launch, and includes a full arms embargo on all weapons and a ban on chemical and biological weapons materials.

BY KIM SO-HEE [kim.sohee0905@joongang.co.kr]

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