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People's Daily Online

S. Korea, U.S. up joint alert level amid DPRK forward deployment

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:19, August 21, 2015

SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the United States raised their joint alert level toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) after the exchange of fires between the two Koreas in border areas, local media reported Friday citing the South Korean military.

The WATCHCON, or Watch Condition to measure reconnaissance posture against the DPRK, was upgraded after South Korea and the DPRK traded fires across border Thursday over the propaganda broadcasts.

The five-tier alert level is usually set at four, and is up when tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula. Under the alert level upgrade, more reconnaissance military assets are mobilized to close monitor the move of DPRK forces.

Seoul and Washington kicked off their joint annual war game, called Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), on Monday, and the computer- assisted simulation exercise would last until next Friday.

Meanwhile, the DPRK has forward-deployed more fire units to the frontline areas already packed with major DPRK artilleries such as 240-mm multiple rocket launchers and 170-mm self-propelled howitzers.

The forward deployment came after the two Koreas traded fires Thursday over the resumption of the propaganda broadcasts.

South Korea resumed blaring the propaganda message with loudspeakers from Aug. 10, which the DPRK called a declaration of war.

The resumption came as two South Korean soldiers were maimed on Aug. 4 following the explosion of landmines, which South Korea claimed had been planted by the DPRK. Pyongyang denied any role in the blast.

The DPRK warned Thursday that South Korea should dismantle the loudspeakers in border areas within 48 hours from 5 p.m. (0800 GMT) or face military actions conducted by the DPRK.

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