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The South Korean president on Thursday ordered the military to step up its readiness across the peninsula and to be prepared to face down "provocations" from North Korea. Park Geun-hye said the South's forces must be "fully ready to aggressively cope...

South Korean military told to prepare for North's 'provocations'

The South Korean president on Thursday ordered the military to step up its readiness across the peninsula and to be prepared to face down "provocations" from North Korea. Park Geun-hye said the South's forces must be "fully ready to aggressively cope...

South Korean military told to prepare for North's 'provocations'

The South Korean president on Thursday ordered the military to step up its readiness across the peninsula and to be prepared to face down "provocations" from North Korea.

Park Geun-hye said the South's forces must be "fully ready to aggressively cope with North Korea's reckless provocations," a spokesman for the president told reporters in Seoul.

Mrs Park also called on civilians to be "well prepared for any contingency," adding that Pyongyang's recent threats against South Korea are "a direct challenge to the entire world."

North Korea has stepped up its own military manoeuvres and its propaganda campaign in recent days, with state media on Wednesday claiming that its forces are poised and ready to attack the presidential Blue House in Seoul in retaliation for joint South Korean-US military exercises currently under way in the South.

The North has also been angered by the imposition of sanctions by the United Nations after it carried out a fourth underground nuclear test in January and the test-launch of a rocket the following month.

State media has declared that the North's military will turn the Blue House and Seoul into "a sea of flame and ashes".

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un  Photo: EPA

A statement by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea also threatened to kill Mrs Park, adding, "The powerful, large-calibre multiple rocket launching systems of the invincible Korean People's Army artillery units are highly alerted to scorch the Blue House in a moment".

A three-minute video posted on the North's Uriminzokkiri website on Tuesday showed images of both the Blue House and the White House in Washington being destroyed.

And while the attacks have been verbal in recent weeks, there are clear indications that North Korea is pushing ahead with plans to enhance its military capabilities.

Overview of Sohae Satellite Launching Station  Photo: CNES

South Korean intelligence has confirmed that the North has carried out a test of a solid-fuel rocket designed to propel long-range ballistic missiles.

North Korea has claimed the test was a success, with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, quoted by the KCNA news agency as saying the achievement will "strike great horror and terror into the hearts of our enemies".

Analysts at 38 North, the web site operated by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, also believe that satellite images of activity at a missile production plant outside Pyongyang show simulation tests of warhead re-entry technology, the last major hurdle that the North's long-range ballistic missile technology needs to overcome.

North Korea images

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