June 02, 2009 08:32
North Korea has apparently instructed naval troops in the West Sea to stockpile more than twice the normal amount of ammunition and artillery shells and staged an unprecedented surprise landing exercise.
A South Korean military source on Monday said the North Korean military has recently instructed patrol boats and coast artillery batteries under the West Sea Navy fleet in Nampo to stockpile more than double the amount of ammunition and shells they keep in normal times. That could be preparation for a possible clash with South Korea.
The surprise landing exercise on the west coast involved high-speed air-cushioned landing craft. The same source said a landing exercise during the month of June was unprecedented in North Korea. "The exercise seems to be a kind of saber-rattling," he said. He suggested that the North is attempting to show South Korea that it could carry out a provocation by a surprise landing.
But South Korean military authorities do not necessarily treat the moves as decisive signs that an armed provocation is impending, though they are watching developments closely. Since a statement calling for an "all-out confrontation posture" against the South on Jan. 17, the People's Army has apparently not given instructions for troops to enter a quasi-wartime state.
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