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ROK military stays on alert after DPRK threats

THE Republic of Korea said its army remained on alert yesterday, a day after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea threatened military action in response to ROK's hard-line stance against the DPRK.

The DPRK People's Army called ROK's president a "traitor" and accused him of preparing a military provocation, according to a statement carried by the DPRK state-run Korean Central News Agency.

DPRK said it was adopting "an all-out confrontational posture" and warned of a "strong military retaliatory step."

The ROK immediately put its forces on alert and a Defense Ministry official said yesterday that it would remain on alert, though there were no unusual moves by the DPRK's forces.

The DPRK has issued similar threats in the past in anger over hard-line policies ROK President Lee Myung-bak has implemented since taking office last year.

Lee ended previous administrations' unconditional aid to the DPRK, and ROK also co-sponsored a UN resolution denouncing the DPRK's human rights record.

The ROK denies taking a confrontational stance and has repeatedly called for dialogue with the DPRK.

The two Koreas have been separated by one of the world's most heavily armed borders since a three-year war ended in a truce in 1953.

Ties warmed significantly following the first summit of their leaders in 2000, but the reconciliation process came to a halt after ROK President Lee came to power last year.


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