These guys haven’t gone anywhere….
By Jack Kim
SEOUL | Tue Oct 8, 2013 8:24am EDT
(Reuters) – North Korea said on Tuesday its military would be put on high alert and be ready to launch operations, stepping up tension after weeks of rhetoric against the United States and South Korea, whom it accuses of instigating hostility.
Reclusive North Korea has often issued threats to attack the South and the United States but has rarely turned them into action. Such hostile rhetoric is widely seen as a way to push its domestic and international political agenda.
A spokesman for the North’s military warned the United States of “disastrous consequences” for moving a group of ships, including an aircraft carrier, into a South Korean port.
“In this connection, the units of all services and army corps level of the KPA received an emergency order from its supreme command to re-examine the operation plans already ratified by it and keep themselves fully ready to promptly launch operations anytime,” the spokesman said, referring to the Korean People’s Army (KPA).
“The U.S. will be wholly accountable for the unexpected horrible disaster to be met by its imperialist aggression forces’ nuclear strike means,” the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
South Korea’s Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said later on Tuesday there was no indication of unusual activity by the North’s military.
Washington brushed off the North’s warning.
“We’ve seen this type of rhetoric from North Korea before,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “Such comments from North Korea will do nothing to end (its) isolation or reduce the costs (it) pays for defying the international community.”
In March, the North declared it was no longer bound by the armistice that ended fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War signed with the United States and China, and threatened to use nuclear weapons to attack U.S. and South Korean territories.
South Korea’s defense ministry said the U.S. ships were taking part in a joint routine maritime search and rescue exercise with the South’s navy and said any criticism by North Korea was “wrong”.