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Troops placed on standby amid N. Korean provocation to be given more leave

All News 10:36 April 10, 2016

SEOUL, April 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korean troops that have been placed on emergency standby in the face of heightened provocations from North Korea will be given more compensatory leave, the ministry said Sunday,

The move comes as Pyongyang's nuclear test and firing off of missiles this year caused Seoul to place much of its forces in a heightened state of readiness, causing troop fatigue.

In particular, fatigue felt by frontline unit troops that must respond immediately to North Korean military provocations is very high, which could affect their fighting capabilities.

The isolated country conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and fired off a long-range missile in the following month, in direct violation of repeated warnings by the global community. The country's has since been slapped with the toughest sanctions imposed by the United Nations on the country to date for its intransigence and attempts to ratchet up tensions.

"The military is taking steps to relieve the stress and the fatigue felt by its personnel, who have been in a high state of alert for over three months," a source said.

He said general officers have been authorized to give compensatory leave at their discretion to soldiers under their command with troops also being given overtime pay.

"Military inspections that are carried out on a regular basis will be kept to a minimum to reduce unnecessary diversion for troop who usually have to allocate time and energy to prepare for such events," the official said.

In addition, to boost morale, the defense ministry said it will increase visits by popular K-pop girl groups and other performers in the first half and that they have allocated more funds so troops can see the latest movies at base.

The military said that while it will lower troop readiness posture down the line if inter-Korean relations improve, it does not plan to take such action in the near future.

"With the North ramping up tensions, the current state of high alert will have to be maintained," a senior source said. He said the goal for the military is to maintain its ability to fully respond to all forms of North Korean provocations without overly fatiguing troops, he said.

The military, meanwhile, claimed that North Korea too has placed its troops on high alert to show they are serious about the threats they have made, but such actions are probably tiring out their soldiers as well.


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