Seoul (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un put his frontline troops on a war footing Friday to back up an ultimatum for South Korea to halt high-decibel propaganda broadcasts across the border.Here.
The move came as military tensions on the divided Korean peninsula soared following a rare exchange of artillery fire on Thursday that put the South Korean army on maximum alert.
Technically, the two Koreas have been at war for the past 65 years, as the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a ceasefire that was never ratified by a formal peace treaty.
Kim has given similarly bellicose orders in the past, most recently in 2013 when he declared "a state of war" with the South, although no clashes resulted.
Over the decades, South Koreans have become accustomed to the North's provocative and belligerent behaviour, and there was no sense of public panic in Seoul despite the dire threats.
Kim chaired an emergency meeting late Thursday of the North's powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) which endorsed the ultimatum for the South to switch off its propaganda unit loudspeakers by Saturday afternoon or face military action.
This is how shit spirals....especially in Asia.
Let me tell you something that is politically incorrect but a stone cold fact. In Asia if you want a fight from hell -- embarrass, humiliate, disgrace, show intense disrespect and you're gonna get your head smashed in if you aren't quick/strong and skilled.
This might seem goofy as hell. Kim might have put his military on war footing and then walked it back at the last minute.
But if. If this goes sideways don't be surprised. If nothing else we've seen nothing but the unusual in this new century. A war over a loudspeaker would be par for this new course.