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South Korea troops instructed to 'pull trigger' upon North's provocation

South Korea has instructed front-line soldiers to retaliate as Pyongyang has called for an immediate end to joint drills.

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea troops instructed to 'pull trigger' upon North's provocation
South Korean military police stand in an aggressive posture as they watch over the demarcation line, a concrete slab connecting the two blue conference halls, separating it from North Korea (background) in the Demilitarized Zone's Joint Security Area in Seoul in 2013. On Tuesday, North Korea again urged for the suspension of U.S.-South Korea joint drills. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- South Korean military leaders instructed troops on Tuesday to retaliate, and one general has said they should "boldly pull the trigger" if the North incites a provocation.

The remarks from South Korean commanders inspecting different front lines follow weeks of tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang that have escalated after exploding land mines inside the area injured two South Korean soldiers. North Korea has denied any involvement.

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Lt. Gen. Lee Sang-hoon of South Korea's Marine Corps said any provocation from the North should be met with an immediate response with a pull of the trigger, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

"If the North provokes, put all the grievances about the Cheonan ship torpedoing, the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island and the latest DMZ wooden-box mine explosion under the name of the Marine Corps and retaliate," Lee said.

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Another South Korean military commander said North Korea is fearful of Seoul's renewed propaganda campaigns. Pyongyang recently said it has begun broadcasting anti-Seoul messages across the DMZ but the move is believed to be a measure against Seoul's broadcasts from reaching ordinary North Koreans.

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"The reason why North Korea is reacting sensitively to psychological warfare is our psychological operations pose fears bigger than those posed by any other high-tech weapons," said Choi Yoon-hee, the chairman of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

On Tuesday, North Korea again urged for the suspension of U.S.-South Korea joint drills, South Korea television network SBS reported, and offered a concession in return.

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"If the joint drills to invade North Korea are stopped, and an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity materializes, the sight of relatives meeting to share their affections will unfold naturally at [Kumgangsan]," North Korea said in a statement published in Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday.

In the statement, North Korea also blamed South Korean President Park Geun-hye for creating tensions between the two Koreas and called her "a premature politician," "submissive traitor" and "visually impaired."

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