President Park Geun-hye on Thursday called on the military to maintain a firm readiness amid North Korea’s threats of a preemptive strike against South Korea and the United States, her office said.
The threats are a typical North Korean response to annual joint military drills underway between South Korea and the U.S.
North Korea has condemned the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion. Seoul and Washington have repeatedly said such exercises are purely defensive in nature.
“The government and our military should maintain a firm readiness under any circumstances,” Park said during a rare trip to the Capital Defense Command in southern Seoul, according to her office.
It marked the first time that a commander in chief visited the command responsible for defending Seoul in 23 years.
On Sunday, the North’s military vowed to launch the “most powerful and advanced merciless preemptive strike” against the allies at any time.
North Korea has yet to follow through on its threats, but two attacks blamed on Pyongyang in 2010 killed 50 South Koreans, mostly soldiers. (Yonhap)