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South Korea on high alert after Kim death

South Korean government branches and the military have been put on high alert following the announcement of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death on Monday.

President Lee Myung-bak called a National Security Council meeting immediately after he was informed of Kim’s death, and held an emergency Cabinet meeting at 3 p.m.

Lee also had a phone conversation with U.S. President Barak Obama regarding the matter.

According to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Jeong-ha, the two leaders agreed to monitor the situation and work closely together on the issue.

With Kim’s death leaving open possibilities of Pyongyang taking military action, the South’s military has been put on high alert.

The office of the Joint Chief of Staff placed all branches of the armed forces on the second-highest level of alert immediately after the news was announced.

Following the changes in its operational protocol, the military deployed additional RF-4 jets and other reconnaissance equipment to reinforce monitoring of the North’s military.

Under the measures, commanders of battalions and larger units are required to maintain their posts and operate response teams.

Units on and near the border and those based in coastal areas vulnerable to possible North Korean incursions were put on heightened alert.

The JCS is also said to have requested the United States Forces Korea to monitor North Korea with U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and spy satellites with greater frequency.

However, no unusual military movement was detected in the North immediately after the announcement.


(Yonhap News)
(Yonhap News)
The JCS said that while there were no unusual movements, North Korean movements were being monitored, with particular attention being paid to possible provocations in the demilitarized zone, areas near the northern limit line in the West Sea and the Joint Security Area in Panmunjeom in Gyeonggi Province.

As such, the South Korean military maintained defense readiness condition, or DEFCON, and Watch Condition, or WATCHCON, at usual levels.

In South Korea DEFCON 4 ― the second-lowest level of readiness ― is the usual level, while WATCHCON 3 maintained under normal conditions.

The country’s police force also went into emergency operations as of 12:30 p.m. According to emergency protocol, commanding officers are required to stay on call at their posts, and riot police and other mobile units are required to remain ready to be deployed.

The police also said that it will cooperate with the military in reinforcing defenses on facilities of national importance.

The emergency measures implemented following the news are not limited to the military and the police forces.

On Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade instructed all overseas diplomatic missions to operate under emergency conditions.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security also issued an order placing all civil servants on level four emergency operations. Under a level four situation, which is the lowest level of alert the ministry can issue, heads of government organizations and management-level officials are prohibited from leaving their place of work. In addition, all civil servants are required to refrain from taking time off work, and at least one person from each unit within various government branches is required to stay at work around the clock.

By Choi He-suk (


'김정일 사망' 정부 비상체제 돌입

합동참모본부는 19일 김정일 북한 국방위원장의 사망에 따라 전군 비상경계태세에 돌입했다.

합참은 이날 김정일 사망 소식이 전해진 직후 위기조치반 및 작전부서 관계자들 이 긴급 소집해 경계태세 강화 방안을 논의한 뒤 비상경계태세 강화조치를 하달했다 .

군은 전방지역에 대북정찰감시 자산을 증강해 대북감시태세를 강화하고 있으며 한미연합사와 북한군의 동향을 면밀히 감시하고 있다.

한미는 대북방어준비태세인 데프콘을 현재 4단계에서 3단계로 격상하는 방안도 검토 중인 것으로 알려졌다.

李대통령, 국가안전보장회의 주재

오후 일정 모두 취소

이명박 대통령은 19일 김정일 북한  국방위원장 의 사망과 관련해 국가안전보장회의(NSC)를 주재하고 있는 것으로 전해졌다.

이 대통령은 이날 오후 청와대에서 관계장관들과 함께 김정일 사후 대책과 대북 대응 태세를 논의하고 있는 것으로 전해졌다.

회의에는 김황식 국무총리, 김성환 외교통상, 류우익 통일, 김관진 국방,  맹형 규 행정안전 장관과 원세훈 국정원장, 하금열 대통령실장 등이 참석한 것으로  알려 졌다.

정부 '충격' 휩싸여..긴급 비상대응체제

'김정일 사망' 사전인지 못해 당혹한 표정

정부는 19일 김정일 북한 국방위 원장이 사망했다는 소식이 전해지자 커다란 충격에 휩싸였다. 

한반도 정세를 예측불허의 방향으로 몰고갈 변수가 등장한 것이어서 정부  당국 자들은 당혹감과 우려 속에서 향후 사태 추이에 촉각을 곤두세우는 표정이다. 

특히 통일부와 외교통상부 등 외교안보라인 당국자들은 김 국방위원장의 사망 소식을 사전에 인지하지 못했던 것으로 알려져 충격도가 더욱 커 보인다. 

통일부와 외교부 당국자들은 이날 정오 김 위원장의 사망소식이 긴급 타전되자 점심식사 약속을 취소하고 서둘러 외교부 청사로 돌아와 외교통상부 대응방안을  모 색하는 모습이다.

정부 당국자들은 "김 위원장의 사망을 전혀 몰랐다"면서 "청와대의 비상회의 결 과를 지켜본 뒤 대책을 논의해나갈 것"이라고 말했다.
외교부는 또 전 재외공관에 대해 비상대기 체제에 돌입하도록 긴급 지시했다. 

외교부는 박석환 외교1차관 주재로 긴급 간부회의를 소집, 이번 사태에 따른 외교적 대응방안을 모색 중이다.