SEOUL, March 24 (UPI) -- South Korea is taking North Korea's provocative threats seriously as it moves forward with steps to strengthen security at government buildings and other facilities.
A day after North Korea threatened to turn the presidential Blue House into flames, Seoul's Ministry of Public Safety and Security and Joint Chiefs of Staff held separate emergency meetings Thursday.
The South Korean commanders stated that the military maintains "firm readiness" in the case of enemy provocations, and if North Korea undertakes a military attack they would be "resolutely punished" until they are made to feel "bitter regret," News 1 reported.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye had stated Thursday the country should be "well-prepared to respond to North Korea provocations" and directed the South's military to take relevant measures.
The Public Safety Ministry has ordered security to be stepped up at various government buildings across the country. More guards and equipment are to be deployed to prevent chemical, biological and radiological acts of terrorism, the ministry stated.
North Korea has heightened tensions on the peninsula in response to the joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea, and has slammed Seoul for engaging in a unilateral exercise that was aimed at precision strikes against key North Korean military facilities.
North Korea released a video Wednesday in retaliation, showing a simulation of South Korea's presidential Blue House bursting into an explosion.
Pyongyang threatened Park and said it is prepared to launch a scorched earth attack on Seoul.
The entire North Korean military and people are ready to "retaliate" against the South Korean leader, Pyongyang has said.