S Korea reacts to DPRK warning

Pyongyang, Seoul
Added On April 2, 2013

Tit for tat continues in the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea has vowed to respond harshly if its neighbor, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, provokes its military.

Speaking to defence officials on Monday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye instructed them to mount a strong response to any new provocation by Pyongyang, without political considerations.

Also on Monday, the DPRK passed a law to consolidate its status as a defensive nuclear state and elected a new premier as part of efforts to revitalize the economy.

South Korean President Park said she "takes the DPRK's recent threats very seriously," referring to Pyongyang's cancellation of a non-aggression pact, the cutting off of the military communications line and talk of going to war.

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said the military will build up defences that can neutralize Pyongyang's nuclear threats at an early stage.

Via a so called "kill chain" framework, South Korea's military could detect nuclear and missile attacks by the DPRK on a real-time basis.

At a plenary meeting of the Workers' Party on Sunday, DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un announced the country's twin goals -- to rebuild the economy and develop nuclear arms simultaneously.

The meeting also decided to develop a "self-reliant nuclear power industry" and a "light water reactor" for power generation.

Also on Monday, delegates attending a session of the DPRK's Supreme People's Assembly passed a law to consolidate its status as a defensive nuclear state.

The top legislative body also decided to establish a national bureau for space exploration.

The assembly also re-appointed former premier Pak Pong-ju to the post of prime minister. Analysts say it is one of Kim's latest personnel arrangements, further consolidating his grip on power in the second full year of his term.

Two days earlier, Pyongyang had declared "a state of war" with South Korea and threatened to shut down a joint industrial park.

In response, Seoul said it wouldn't change its policy of keeping the Kaesong Complex open.

On Monday, the industrial zone opened as usual.

The industrial park, located in the DPRK border city of Kaesong, was built in 2004.

It houses some 120 South Korean companies employing around 50,000 workers from the north.

Meanwhile, the White House says Washington has not seen major military movements in Pyongyang despite its recent "bellicose rhetoric."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday that the DPRK hadn't carried out any large-scale mobilizations or positioning of forces.

But Carney added that Washington took Pyongyang's war-mongering seriously.

Meanwhile, reports say the U.S. Navy is moving a sea- based radar platform closer to the Korean Peninsula in order to monitor military moves.
It came after Washington conducted flights of nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers over the peninsula, and deployed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to South Korea.