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Militaries of both Koreas seem tired over tension

Posted December. 23, 2010 10:22,   


The South Korean military has remained on alert for almost a month since North Korea’s Nov. 23 attack on Yeonpyeong Island. With Pyongyang also on high alert, both sides are increasingly feeling fatigue.

A military official in Seoul said Wednesday, “Following the attack, we are maintaining our alert status at the highest level of Jindotgae 1, raised the five-grade Watchcon surveillance alert to a Watchcon 2 status, and raising the defense alert in the Yellow Sea to the highest level.”

Seoul has been in a combat readiness posture for nearly a month though allowing soldiers to take vacations.

The situation for the North Korean military is no different. After the Yeonpyeong attack, Pyongyang declared a state of “quasi-warfare” and informed this to its 8th Navy Fleet at its Yellow Sea Fleet Command of the (North) Korean People’s Army stationed near the Northern Limit Line.

South Korean naval vessels and soldiers are ready for mobilization. A source on North Korea based in Seoul said, “North Korean soldiers are usually locked in mine tunnels in alert situations and have been there for near a month. They must be pretty much exhausted."

Only when alert levels are withdrawn on one side can the other side do the same, but neither is attempting this. A Seoul military official said, “We will withdraw alert levels gradually depending on the movements of the North Korean military. We will first try to cut down the number of combat plane attacks.”

With the alert level tightened, costs are also running high. A Defense Ministry source in Seoul said, “More heavy missile-loaded combat fighters are being mobilized than usual and various naval forces are in an emergency state, raising fuel costs.”

Equipment is being exhausted because of frequent mobilization and lack of repairs.

In contrast, Pyongyang is known to be minimizing maintenance costs due to its sluggish economy. The North Korean military is known to be refraining from mobilizing its MiG-23 fighter jets by having only those at an air force base near the Yellow Sea in standby position.

Pyongyang is reducing costs except for fuel for forward deployment of multiple-launch rockets. Instead, it is making verbal attacks through the (North) Korean Central News Agency by opening and shutting the doors of the artillery attack base.