Report: North Korea lifts highest combat alert

May 7, 2013 at 1:56 AM
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PYONGYANG, North Korea, May 7 (UPI) -- North Korea, in addition to withdrawing two mid-range missiles from its east coast, also has lifted its highest combat alert, a source told Yonhap News Tuesday.

The isolated Communist country had placed its missile and artillery units on highest alert level in late March as its threats against the United States and South Korea escalated. The North justified its actions, saying they were needed to protect its sovereignty from South Korea and the United States.

"North Korea appears to have lifted the highest combat alert around April 30," the Seoul government source told Yonhap.

The combat alert had targeted the U.S. mainland, Hawaii and Guam and other U.S. military bases in the Pacific as well as South Korea as claimed by its official media.

The source said the withdrawal of the two mid-range Musudan missiles was part of the lifting of the combat alert.

"It appears that the two Musudan missiles have been moved to some other place, though we have yet to confirm where they are located," the source said. "Intelligence authorities of South Korea and the U.S. are closely tracking them."

The United States, South Korea and Japan had stayed on high alert after the North moved its missiles because of concerns it might launch them at any time.

The latest developments come with the easing of threats from the North, which began after the United Nations Security Council tightened its sanctions against the impoverished country for its Feb. 12 nuclear test, the country's third since 2006.

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