North Korea 'combat ready'

GREETINGS,

  North Korea ‘combat ready’

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has put the country’s armed forces on combat alert as tensions continue to escalate on the Korean Peninsular.

“We do not hope for war but if South Korea, with the US and Japan on its back, tries to attack us, Kim Jong-il has ordered us to finish the task of unification left undone during the … (Korean) war,” a North army statement said.

The order was issued after Seoul announced Thursday that investigations had concluded that a torpedo fired by North Korea was responsible for the March 26 sinking of the corvette Cheonan, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

The development comes as Seoul and Washington are preparing to hold a set of joint military exercises.

North Korea, which denies the attack, has threatened “all-out war” if the South retaliates for the sinking of the South’s warship.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said on Monday that Seoul would significantly reduce trade with Pyongyang, pledging an immediate military reaction to any future attacks.

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