US, S. Korean Troops on Highest Alert since 2006

Pyongyang’s repeated threats to abandon a 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War on Thursday pushed South Korean and US troops in the peninsula to their highest alert level since 2006.

Media reports citing defense officials say combined US-South Korea forces command has upped surveillance of North Korea and raised watch conditions from stage three to stage two.

The alert had not been raised since Nort Korea had conducted its first nuclear test explosion in 2006.

On Wednesday, North Korea announced that it would no longer be bound by the 56 year old truce and threatened military action if South Korean and US ships made any move to intercept its vessels suspected of carrying nuclear materials.

The US-led Proliferation Security Initiative, which South Korea joined after North Korea’s underground nuclear test this week, provides for such action.

While terming North Korea’s statements are “saber rattling,” US defense officials have pledged to uphold the US defense alliance with Japan and South Korea.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday warned that the North Korean acion would trigger consequences.

(internet inputs)

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