The Courier-Mail

Loony leader threatens yet another nuclear war

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PYONGYANG: North Korea has declared its frontline troops in a “quasi-state of war” and warned of military operations, a day after the rival Koreas exchanged fire across the world’s most heavily armed border.

The North has made similar bombastic claims before and the huge numbers of soldiers and military equipment stationed along the Koreas’ tense border mean the area is always essentiall­y in a “quasistate of war”.

Still, the declaratio­n, following South Korea’s firing of dozens of shells across the border after the North lobbed several rounds at a South Korean town, signals a worrying developmen­t.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported leader Kim Jong-un ordered at an emergency military meeting that his troops “be fully ready for any military operations at any time from 5pm Friday”.

The report said “military commanders were urgently dispatched for operations, to attack South Korean psychologi­cal warfare facilities if theth South doesn’t stop operating them”.

Seoul said the North fired on Thursday across the demilitari­sed zone to back up an earlier threat to attack South Korean border loudspeake­rs that, after a lull of 11 years, have started broadcasti­ng anti-Pyongyang propaganda.nda

North Korea, which denies firing at the South, later said the South Korean shells landed near four military posts but caused no injuries. No one was reported injured in the South, either, though hun- dredsd were evacuated from frontlinef­r towns.

The loudspeake­r broadcasts­c began after South Korea accuseda the North of planting landminesl­a that maimed two South Korean soldiers earlier this month.

Authoritar­ian North Korea, whichw has also restarted its own propaganda broadcasts, is extremely sensitive to any criticism of the Government run by leader Kim Jong-un, whose family has ruled since the North was founded in 1948.

Pyongyang worries that the critical broadcasts could

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