North Korea has followed the South in resuming loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts across their heavily militarised border, Seoul’s defence ministry said on Monday.
However, the North reckons these exercises are basically a launch pad for the U.S.to initiate a nuclear war.
In another apparent purge, senior officials from Seoul’s National Intelligence Service told South Korean lawmakers in a closed hearing in May that North Korea‘s defense minister, Hyon Yong Chol, was executed by anti-aircraft fire for disloyalty and showing disrespect to dictator Kim, The Wall Street Journal reported.
North Korea has denied any involvement and, on the weekend, threatened “indiscriminate” strikes towards South Korean border models until the broadcasts are halted instantly. Earlier that year, a Seoul-led global investigation blamed a North Korean torpedo for a warship sinking that killed 46 South Koreans. These “psychological warfare” was stopped for about a decade.
North Korea marked the start of the new time zone by ringing the Pyongyang Bell at the Pyongyang Astronomical Observatory at the stroke of midnight, according to KCNA. Officials say Pyongyang was informed of the allies’ plans through a loudspeaker at Panmunjom, the truce village inside the DMZ on Saturday.
South Korea had similarly turned its clocks back in 1954 but reverted to Japan standard time in 1961 after President Park’s father, Park Chung-Hee, came to power in a military coup.
North and South Korea are technically still at war as the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Tensions have flared in the past around sensitive points on their de facto border, including North Korea’s shelling of an island in 2010 that killed two South Korean marines.
In a report on the North Korea monitoring website, 38 North, Jeffrey Lewis said recent satellite imagery showed that in the past year North Korea had begun to refurbish a major uranium mill in Pyongsan, a county in the southern part of the country.
The North has been quick to criticize South Korea for not similarly abandoning for good the Japanese time zone.
Assuming the United States agrees with that assessment and doesn’t give in, the exercises – which will also include forces from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom – will last 12 days and conclude August 28.