Is it just me or does that title sound a little dramatic? Well, it was the title Bloomberg (October 21, 2012) used. According to the article:
South Korea is preparing to evacuate more than 800 residents along the demilitarized zone after North Korea threatened to fire on activists planning to send balloons across the border carrying leaflets critical of its regime.
While no orders to leave are currently in place, authorities have been preparing citizens residing within the civilian control line to evacuate if any signs of a possible attack emerge, Park Kwang Hae, an official at Paju City Council, said by telephone today.
Yonhap (October 22, 2012) merely notes that the military is on high alert:
“Our military units near Imjingak are maintaining readiness to immediately return artillery fire,” a senior military official said, asking for anonymity, as he is not allowed to talk about military information. “We are closely watching the North Korean military’s movements.”
The South Korean military has stepped up combat readiness by deploying artillery and tank brigades and combat air patrols by F-15K and KF-16, according to the official.
The threat of an attack against activists is the first since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un succeeded his father Kim Jong Il in December. South Korea has not sighted any unusual troop movements north of the border today, said a Defense Ministry official, who could not be named due to military policy.
While I think it is interesting to note that this is the first threat over balloons by Kim Jong-Un, it is not uncommon. Actually, to be honest, I was really surprised this made it in the news as it is a fairly common thing with the balloon activists. They were supposed to have started their balloon campaign about ten minutes ago but considering how hard it is raining – I am guessing it has been called off or the turnout is much lower than expected.
Bloomberg did, however, note an upside of these times of uncertainty:
Defense shares rallied in Seoul, with Huneed Technologies (005870), which manufactures military communication equipment, gaining as much as 11 percent. It was up 2.6 percent at 3,900 won at 9:50 a.m. Victek Co. (065450), a producer of electronic warfare equipment, rose 4.7 percent to 1,790 won while the benchmark Kospi fell 1.3 percent.