North Korea puts artillery forces at top combat posture

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s military warned today that its artillery and rocket forces are at their highest-level combat posture in the latest in a string of bellicose threats aimed at South Korea and the United States.

Seoul’s Defense Ministry said today it hasn’t seen any suspicious North Korean military activity and that officials are analyzing the North’s warning. Analysts say a direct North Korean attack is extremely unlikely, especially during joint U.S.-South Korean military drills that end April 30, though there’s some worry about a provocation after the training wraps up.

North Korea, angry over routine U.S.-South Korean drills and recent U.N. sanctions punishing it for its Feb. 12 nuclear test, has vowed to launch a nuclear strike against the United States and repeated its nearly two-decade-old threat to reduce Seoul to a “sea of fire.”

Today, the North Korean army’s Supreme Command said it will take “practical military action” to protect national sovereignty and its leadership in response to what it called U.S. and South Korean plots to attack.

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