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Thursday, January 7, 2016, 20:21

ROK raises military alert near propaganda loudspeakers

By Agencies

ROK raises military alert near propaganda loudspeakers
South Korean soldiers take down a battery of propaganda loudspeakers along the border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in Paju on June 16, 2004. (AFP PHOTO/ KIM JAE-HWAN)

SEOUL – The Republic of Korea (ROK) raised its military alert to the highest level at locations along the border where loudspeakers will resume propaganda broadcasts into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Friday noon, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday.

The ROK's presidential office said the broadcasts will resume because the DPRK violated an August agreement to ease tension by conducting its fourth nuclear test on Wednesday.

The propaganda broadcasts have in the past angered the North, prompting an exchange of artillery fire across the rivals' border in August.

"Our military is at a state of full readiness, and if North Korea wages provocation, there will be firm punishment," said Cho Tae-yong, the first deputy chief of the presidential security office.

The ROK military stopped the broadcasting after an agreement reached on Aug 25 last year between top-level military advisers to the ROK President Park Geun-hye and top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Also on Thursday, local media reported the ROK's unification ministry plans to restrict the entry of workers into the Kaesong industrial complex, an inter-Korean factory park in the namesake city of the DPRK.

An unidentified unification ministry official told reporters that workers, allowed to enter the Kaesong complex, will be limited to those who have a direct relevance to production activities.

About 1,200 South Koreans on Thursday stayed at the Kaesong industrial complex, where some 120 South Korean companies are employing tens of thousands of DPRK workers to operate factories.

The official was quoted as saying that the number of South Koreans who will be allowed to stay there could slide by as much as 100, calling the limited entry as necessary steps to protect people's safety after the DPRK's nuclear test.

The ministry also plans to re-examine the scheduled inter-Korean exchanges in private sector and the cooperation projects to support the DPRK, indicating a delay in those projects.

The ROK is pushing to encourage the UN Security Council to take stronger sanctions against the DPRK, saying that the fourth nuclear test was in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

ROK raises military alert near propaganda loudspeakers

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