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S. Korea vows "strong" responses if N. Korea carries out provocation: defense ministry

All News 19:03 June 16, 2020

SEOUL, June 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will strongly respond to any provocative military action by North Korea, the defense ministry said Tuesday, amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula following the North's surprise demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office.

Earlier in the day, North Korea blew up the inter-Korean joint liaison office in its border town of Kaesong, three days after leader Kim Jong-un's influential sister, Kim Yo-jong, warned of its demolition in protest over South Korean activists' sending of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border.

The destruction sparked concern that the North could put other threats against the South into action, including taking military action and moving troops to border regions disarmed under inter-Korean agreements.

"Regarding the current security situations, our military has been closely monitoring the North Korean military's movements round-the-clock, and doing its best to manage the situation to prevent the situation from escalating into a military crisis," the defense ministry said in a statement.

"If North Korea carries out provocative military actions, our military will strongly respond to them," it added.

Earlier in the day, the General Staff of the (North) Korean People's Army warned that it is reviewing an action plan to advance into "the zones that had been demilitarized under the north-south agreement, turn the front line into a fortress and further heighten the vigilance" against the South.

Following the explosion, the South Korean authorities immediately tightened the surveillance and readiness posture, according to officials.

Compilation images provided by South Korea's defense ministry show the inter-Korean liaison office at the Kaesong Industrial Complex being blown up by North Korea on June 16, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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