Two Koreas at the brink of war after exchanging fire

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Kim with grenade launcherJust one day after the first-ever concert of a Western rock group, Laibach from Slovenia, in North Korea, the situation on the peninsula seems to  start escalating – although its not Laibach that’s to blame.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has advised his troops to be fully ready for military operations at any time from 5pm local time on Friday, August 21, North Korea’s official Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. The troops should be “fully battle ready to launch surprise operations” while the entire frontline should be placed in a “semi-war state”, KCNA quoted him as saying.

One day earlier, he gave South Korea  an ultimatum of 48 hours – also starting from 5pm – to remove its massive loudspeakers from the southern border and stop blasting propaganda messages towards the North. Technically, war actions could be expected when the ultimatum ends on Saturday, August 22, 5pm local time.

To complicate things, “local time” means 5pm in the North and 5:30pm in the South because North Korea moved its clock back by half an hour earlier this month to mark the anniversary of liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

Tensions spiked on the peninsula after two South Korean soldiers were seriously wounded by landmines on August 4 in the demilitarised zone that separates the two countries. South Korea has accused the North of deliberately planting the mines, an allegation that Pyongyang denies.

Seoul vowed a “harsh” response to the landmines and resumed blaring propaganda messages over the border from huge loudspeakers last week, a method that the South stopped applying in 2004. The move infuriated North Korea, which called the broadcasting “a direct action of declaring a war.” It threatened to blow up the South Korean loudspeakers and also warned of “indiscriminate strikes.”

After that, the North allegedly fired shells into South Korean territory on August 20, prompting the South to respond with a barrage of artillery. However, the North denied having fired on the South. In turn, South Korea put its military on high alert and President Park Geun Hye canceled her public engagements to focus on the crisis.

Only a few days ago, North Korea threatened to “retaliate against the US with tremendous muscle” if it didn’t cancel joint military exercises with South Korea, indicating that it may use weapons from its nuclear arsenal.

US officials said they were “monitoring the situation closely.”

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Just one day after the first-ever concert of a Western rock group, Laibach from Slovenia, in North Korea, the situation on the peninsula seems to  start escalating – although its not Laibach that’s to blame.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Kim with grenade launcherJust one day after the first-ever concert of a Western rock group, Laibach from Slovenia, in North Korea, the situation on the peninsula seems to  start escalating – although its not Laibach that’s to blame.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has advised his troops to be fully ready for military operations at any time from 5pm local time on Friday, August 21, North Korea’s official Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. The troops should be “fully battle ready to launch surprise operations” while the entire frontline should be placed in a “semi-war state”, KCNA quoted him as saying.

One day earlier, he gave South Korea  an ultimatum of 48 hours – also starting from 5pm – to remove its massive loudspeakers from the southern border and stop blasting propaganda messages towards the North. Technically, war actions could be expected when the ultimatum ends on Saturday, August 22, 5pm local time.

To complicate things, “local time” means 5pm in the North and 5:30pm in the South because North Korea moved its clock back by half an hour earlier this month to mark the anniversary of liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

Tensions spiked on the peninsula after two South Korean soldiers were seriously wounded by landmines on August 4 in the demilitarised zone that separates the two countries. South Korea has accused the North of deliberately planting the mines, an allegation that Pyongyang denies.

Seoul vowed a “harsh” response to the landmines and resumed blaring propaganda messages over the border from huge loudspeakers last week, a method that the South stopped applying in 2004. The move infuriated North Korea, which called the broadcasting “a direct action of declaring a war.” It threatened to blow up the South Korean loudspeakers and also warned of “indiscriminate strikes.”

After that, the North allegedly fired shells into South Korean territory on August 20, prompting the South to respond with a barrage of artillery. However, the North denied having fired on the South. In turn, South Korea put its military on high alert and President Park Geun Hye canceled her public engagements to focus on the crisis.

Only a few days ago, North Korea threatened to “retaliate against the US with tremendous muscle” if it didn’t cancel joint military exercises with South Korea, indicating that it may use weapons from its nuclear arsenal.

US officials said they were “monitoring the situation closely.”

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