SEOUL, Aug. 26 (UPI) — North Korea called on its troops near the demilitarized zone to maintain “battle mobilization readiness” in the latest response to U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises that began on Monday.
A North Korean source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK on Friday in accordance with “Kim Jong Un‘s orders, each army corps has completed initiatives toward battle preparedness and secured engagement measures.”
The source said the mobilization posture of the North Korean army is of the lowest level and lower than in 2015, when Kim Jong Un declared a “quasi-state of war” last August due to other tensions at the DMZ.
Kim’s latest command applies to Gangwon East Legion 1, Gangwon West Legion 5, North Hwanghae Legion 2, South Hwanghae Legion 4 and South Pyongan Legion 3, according to the source.
North Korea’s Capital Defense Corps, responsible for the protection of Pyongyang, and various commanders at all levels in the city of Pyongyang are maintaining combat readiness, the source said.
“All travel for People’s Armed Forces generals and officers have been banned…a reserve military training unit of university students have gathered in Pyongyang, carrying personal weapons,” the source said.
The mobilization is taking place as North Korea issued a vehement criticism of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
During a recent visit to the central sector of the DMZ, Park had said that it is “difficult to predict the character of Kim Jong Un,” News 1 reported.
North Korea’s KCNA issued a statement on Friday, calling the Park statement “high treason that will be met with heavenly punishment.”
Pyongyang also called Park a “traitor” and a “menace,” and that North Korea’s “Paektu revolutionary forces” are waiting for orders to stage an invasion into the “living room” of the presidential Blue House.