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SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said on Friday the peninsula was heading toward war and it was ready to tear up all agreements with the South after it accused the reclusive state of torpedoing a navy ship near their disputed border.
South Korea said on Thursday it had overwhelming evidence that a North Korean submarine had entered its waters in March and attacked the Cheonan corvette, killing 46 sailors.
President Lee Myung-bak, whose 2- years in office have seen relations with the North turn increasingly frosty, was scheduled to hold a rare emergency National Security Council meeting to discuss how to respond in the wake of the findings on the sinking from an international team of investigators.
"From this time on, we will regard the situation as a phase of war and will be responding resolutely to all problems in North-South relations," the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in a statement.
Should hostilities ever resume on the peninsula, U.S. military officials say one of the first orders of business probably would be to coordinate an evacuation from South Korea of perhaps hundreds of thousands of Americans and other foreign nationals.
A long-scheduled U.S. Forces Korea exercise to practice evacuating noncombatants was supposed to start Thursday and run through this weekend. But the annual Courageous Channel drill was cancelled earlier this week “to avoid the appearance that it was scheduled in response to the March sinking of a South Korean warship or the subsequent investigation,” USFK said in a statement Tuesday.
Eighth Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Buczkowski said moving American civilians and others off the peninsula in a real emergency “would dwarf any previous evacuation,” and those in charge would be prepared to expect the unexpected.
“If we plan on using a certain train, and they blow that train up, then we have to use another one,” he said during a briefing with a Stars and Stripes reporter who was going to participate in the cancelled drill that would have involved as many as 10,000 American civilians.
There are about 109,000 U.S. government and private civilians living in South Korea, and nearly 44,000 people from a half-dozen countries have evacuation agreements with the U.S., according to government figures.
“But, if something happened, more could jump on the bandwagon” and ask the U.S. for help evacuating its citizens, Buczkowski said.
“All of a sudden we could find ourselves with an additional 50,000 people from somewhere else. It could grow … (and) it’s a huge operation already.”
Yeah good luck with that. NKorea artillery shells will land in Seoul WAY BEFORE you can evacuate the 10 million people living there.
South Korea and the United States are considering upgrading the alert status on North Korea to the next level as tensions build up on findings the North sank one of the South's naval ships, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.
"A review is under way on possibly raising the watch condition on the North," an unidentified high-ranking military source was quoted as saying.
A United Nations military command plans to investigate whether a North Korean torpedo attack on a South Korean warship was in violation of an armistice agreement, a Seoul government source said Friday.
If the North is proven to have violated the armistice pact, the commission will lodge a formal protest with Pyongyang, the source said.
"Depending on the government's decision, we could take military or non-military measures as early as next week," Deputy Defense Minister Jang Kwang-il said.
The South's military is considering resuming propaganda broadcasts across the border with the North, launching anti-submarine military training exercises with the U.S. and banning North Korean ships from passing through South Korean waters, officials said.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak ordered his government Friday to deal with North Korea "resolutely and systematically," saying its torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in March violates the U.N. Charter and the 1953 armistice agreement that effectively ended the Korean War.
It would not be surprising for rumblings of discontent to spread to the military as it is not immune to food shortages. Kim says troops do not undergo physical training in the afternoon because they are too hungry.
South Korea and the United States have agreed to carry out a massive anti-submarine training drill in the West Sea sometime next month, mobilizing a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, in a strong protest against North Korea's sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan.
A senior government official on Thursday said the two allies "decided to hold a large-scale joint drill in June, much earlier than originally planned, to express our strong determination to take steps against North Korea."
The drill was originally scheduled in fall. It will also take place closer to the inter-Korean sea border than usual. A number of large aircraft carriers such as the George Washington and Aegis ships will take part.
Originally posted by primus2012
If it takes nearly 2 months to decide what to do in retaliation of an attack, this will go on forever.
Originally posted by Vitchilo
sapien82 is probably a North Korean propagandist in North Korea.
[edit on 20-5-2010 by Vitchilo]
Originally posted by Underbelly
America will dread a war with NK because the first thing that will be vapourised will be all of America's military personnel stationed in SK, and the last thing the yanks need is to be isolated by SK and Japan by being seen as an unnecessary aggressor. It would hurt America big time in the long term.
SK will dread a war with NK because the first thing vapourised will be Seoul, and their economy will crumble. Japan will not want to see a war on the Korean Peninsula because their capital and other cities will most likely be targeted by NK's missiles.
NK will dread a war with SK because it is unlikely that China will back them this time round. And China will not want a war on the Korean Peninsula because they'll have to worry about millions of refugees spilling over to their side of the border.
There is nothing to this other than hollow rhetoric from a hollow regime.