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North Korea issues artillery alert

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A B-52 Stratofortress conducts a training flight over the Republic of Korea

A B-52 Stratofortress conducts a training flight over the Republic of Korea, March 19, 2013. As part of the U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence, the crew practiced dropping bombs on targets at Pilsung Range. U.S. Air Force photo/SSgt Emerson Nunez

The battle of word on the Korean peninsula continued March 26 as media outlets quoted the North Korean military high command as placing its artillery and rocket units on alert to strike targets in South Korea and U.S. bases in the Pacific. The Chinese news agency Xinhua reports

“From this moment, the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army will be putting into combat duty posture No. 1 all field artillery units, including long-range artillery units and strategic rocket units, that will target all enemy objects in U.S. invasionary bases on its mainland, Hawaii and Guam,” the North’s KCNA news agency said.

The order was issued in a statement from the North’s military “supreme command.”

Generals sign a counter provocation plan

Gen. James D. Thurman, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea and Gen. Jeong Sung Jo, Chairman of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff, sign a counter provocation plan at the JCS headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Mar. 22, 2013. U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Brian Gibbons

This comes after the chairman of the South Korean military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. James D. Thurman who leads the Republic of Korea-United States Combined Forces Command signed a plan to counter future threats from North Korea on March 22. The plan, titled “Combined Counter-Provocation Plan”, has been in development since the November 2011 North Korean shelling of the island of Yeonpyeong.

Asahi quotes the North Korean news agency as stating that President Kim Jong Un had recently lead a landing operation that involved the N.K. Navy. Experts discount this statement, and South Korean military sources report no signs of any change in N.K. readiness despite the alert. The Korea Times describes the landing operations as

combined landing drills and fired artillery in simulated coastal defense operations off its eastern coast under the command of young leader Kim Jong-un.

For more information on the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, please read:
Tensions Grow in Korea as Annual Military Exercise Kicks Off
Tensions Continue on Korean Peninsula

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