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South Korea requests U.S. reinforcements of reconnaissance capabilities

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea requests U.S. reinforcements of reconnaissance capabilities
South Korea’s military is tightening its defense posture in the wake of the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. The defense ministry is also dealing with multiple cyberattacks, possibly of North Korean origin. Photo by Yonhap/UPI

SEOUL, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- South Korea's military has requested U.S. forces heighten surveillance of North Korea for possible provocations following the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

The request was submitted as new revelations emerged of delayed internal reporting on a recent cyberattack against the defense ministry.

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South Korea's "military re-examined surveillance and security postures on Friday to stand ready against North Korea provocations and selectively carried out surveillance strengthening measures," Seoul's defense ministry said in a statement on Monday to a parliamentary committee on defense policy.

Seoul also said it requested U.S. reinforcements of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, Yonhap reported.

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On Friday, Defense Minister Han Min-koo had said, "North Korea is likely to engage in strategic and tactical provocations due to instability in the domestic political sphere and the transition in U.S. administration."

Seoul also had a series of military-wide meetings for commanders in order to maintain a firm defense posture that could keep its mission "unshakable," according to the military.

South Korea's defense ministry had recently been the target of hacking that was traced to an Internet Protocol address in Shenyang, China.

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Military sources have said the attack was of North Korean origin.

Internal reports of the computer breach, however, were stalled for two days because the military's Korea' cyber command chief Byun Jae-seon did not disclose details of the incident to Han until Oct. 14, two days after the malicious code had infiltrated the defense intranet, local news service EDaily reported Monday.

Earlier in September another report on a cyberattack was delayed by two days, according to Han.

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Byun said his division took measures to "pre-emptively block the spread of additional threats by separating the network of servers."

"The possibility of hacking is very low because the defense internal network and the Internet are separated," Byun said Monday, denying claims the cyberattacks did serious damage to the networks.

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