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S. Korea's military chief calls for vigilance against N.K. provocations

All Headlines 18:23 December 10, 2016

SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's military chief on Saturday called for vigilance against North Korea's possible provocations after parliament voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye a day earlier, officials said.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Lee Sun-jin made the remark during his visit to a general post in the heavily fortified front-line mid and eastern regions facing North Korea.

"There is a high possibility that North Korea's military could make provocative acts in a surprise manner on the occasion of the South Korean political situation in a bid to drive a wedge (among South Koreans)," Lee said.

He ordered the military to raise their alertness against the enemy and focus on defending the nation firmly.

On Friday, the National Assembly passed a motion to impeach Park over a political scandal which has rocked the country for weeks. The passage suspends all authority held by the president as the head of state.

Lee presided over an emergency meeting attended by military operational commanders on Friday, calling for full readiness to counter North Korea's possible provocations.

S. Korea's military chief calls for vigilance against N.K. provocations - 1

On Saturday, South Korea's foreign and unification ministries also held meetings to follow up on the impeachment.

At a meeting, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se raised the need to send a message to foreign nations which says that South Korea's situation is stable despite the impeachment, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.

Yun also said that Seoul will focus on coordination with its allies and neighboring countries over major diplomatic issues including North Korea's nuclear standoff.

In a telegram sent to the country's embassies and consulates worldwide, Yun ordered diplomats in overseas missions on Friday to stay focused on their duties.

Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo also held a meeting to monitor North Korea's situation and check its policy, the ministry said.

"The government will continue to keep its North Korean policy stance including a push for working toward a peaceful unification," the ministry handling inter-Korean affairs said in a statement on Friday.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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