What's Going On Between North & South Korea? Kim Jong-Un Is Readying His Troops For Battle
South Korea has until 5 p.m. North Korea time to cease the playing of North Korean criticisms via loudspeakers, lest the country take military action. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un says his country is readying troops for battle with South Korea, claiming they're in a state of “quasi-war.” South Korea has been utilizing the loudspeakers for just over a week in response to the reported deliberate planting of landmines along a South Korean patrol path in the demilitarized zone that divides the two countries. The mines injured two South Korean soldiers on Aug. 4.
North Korea fired two rockets at the speakers on Thursday, and South Korea immediately retaliated with gunfire. South Korea had utilized similar anti-propaganda techniques for decades, up until 2004, when both sides ceased the practice. North Korea has similarly resumed by broadcasting pro-Kim Jong-un propaganda at South Korea, ending over a decade of silence between the two countries. A South Korean defense ministry spokesperson has said that the country "will strongly retaliate against any kind of North Korean attacks and the North will have to take all the responsibility for such retaliative actions," according to the Washington Post.
A North Korean televised report express similar sentiments against South Korea. The report said:
Commanders of the Korean People’s Army were hastily dispatched to the front-line troops to command military operations to destroy psychological warfare tools if the enemy does not stop the propaganda broadcast within 48 hours and prepare against the enemy’s possible counteractions.
Almost immediately following North Korea's announcement, the hashtag #PrayforKorea began trending on Twitter. Tens of thousands of tweets have been posted in support of peace in the region, evoking the Korean War that divided the countries in 1953 and ultimately culminated in the deaths of over half a million people.
It's unclear whether North Korea will, in fact, take aggressive military action if South Korea doesn't bend to their demands. Yonsei University professor John Delury assessed the situation as a slightly ramped up version of where North Korea typically stands with its neighbor to the south. Delury said,
The ultimatum is unusual. Because it’s a game of chicken — one side or the other has to back down, unless they find some sort of face-saving subterfuge. And it doesn’t seem like they’re looking for face-saving subterfuge.
South Korean villages near the demilitarized zone have already been evacuated as a preemptive measure. North Korea, meanwhile, is reportedly readying missiles in the Kangwon and North Pyongan provinces.