Seoul on guard for North Korea provocations along maritime border

SEOUL, June 29 (UPI) — North Korean movement along a disputed maritime border has South Korea’s military on alert, and ready to “punish immediately upon provocation.”

Seoul’s defense ministry and joint chiefs of staff said North Korean troops have installed video surveillance equipment and a radar on Ari Island, about seven miles from the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, which was the target of North Korean shelling in 2010.

About three miles from Yeonpyeong on North Korea’s Gal Island, artillery equipment has been placed, South Korean news service Newsis reported.

“[South Korea] military has been closely monitoring Ari and Gal Islands in the Northern Limit Line region,” a South Korean military official said. “We are constantly observing the movement of troops.”

South Korea is maintaining readiness in case of provocations, local news service News 1 reported.

North Korea has been building up its military presence on Gal Island since March 2015. Last year, North Koreans were spotted digging ditches and engaging in construction until five roofed trucks arranged like bunkers appeared on the site.

On Ari Island, a 20-meter steel tower has been built, and dozens of military personnel were on site, according to South Korea press.

Radar has been deployed on Ari Island, a South Korean military official told News 1.

North Korea recently issued a warning that its military is “only waiting for the command to launch,” less than a week after test-firing midrange ballistic missiles.

Pyongyang has said the United States and South Korea have been “spreading tensions” in waters off the western coast of the peninsula.

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