Attack drill sparks retaliation vow from North

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Attack drill sparks retaliation vow from North

North Korea said Wednesday that its military was ready for a retaliatory battle with President Park Geun-hye over the joint military drills being conducted by Seoul and Washington, while South Korea vowed to punish any provocations.

The North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, which handles inter-Korean affairs, denounced a precision strike drill in the ongoing joint exercises that practiced an attack on North Korean leaders.

“From this moment, all the actions of the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK, including the regular units of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] … will be oriented to launch a retaliatory battle of justice in order to resolutely eliminate the Park Geun-hye group of traitors on this land and under this sky,” the committee said in a statement carried by the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“We had already declared that all the dens of the enemy in South Korea including the Chongwadae [the Blue House] are the primary targets of the ultra-precision strike means of the Strategic Force of the KPA ready to go into action,” the committee said, adding that its large-caliber multiple-rocket launching system will reduce its target to “flames and ashes.”

South Korea condemned North Korea for its threats to President Park and the people, and urged it to immediately stop such “vulgar” acts.

“It is a clear misjudgment if North Korea thinks it can sway the united willingness of our government and people to secure national security and peace through these reckless threats,” Jeong Joon-hee, spokesman for the South’s Ministry of Unification, said at a regular briefing. “Our military will sternly and mercilessly punish any provocations by North Korea.”

North Korea’s KCNA reported on Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally witnessed the operation of a new large-caliber multiple-rocket launching system, which probably was responsible for the five short-range projectiles the North fired into the sea off its east coast Monday afternoon.

South Korea’s military said the 300-millimeter (1-foot) multiple-rocket launcher sent projectiles 200 kilometers (124 miles) into the East Sea. Given the range, it can reach the Blue House and U.S. bases in Pyeongtaek and Osan in Gyeonggi, as well as the Gyeryongdae military headquarters in South Chungcheong.

The missile launches on Monday were the fourth in March.

Tensions on the peninsula have escalated as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed another nuclear test and the firing of ballistic missiles “in a short time” last week.

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