The US has reportedly put its troops in South Korea on the highest alert ever to deter “any provocation coming from North Korea,” following Pyongyang’s latest underground nuclear test.
The order was announced by Curtis Scaparrotti, the head of US military deployment in South Korea, who was visiting the Osan airbase, which is jointly run by Washington and Seoul.
The US has more than 28,000 troops deployed in South Korea which has remained technically at war with its northern neighbor since the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Press TV reports:
The move is meant to counter “any provocation coming from North Korea” following Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test on Wednesday, US media quoted the unnamed official as saying on Monday.
Washington and Seoul are already in talks to send further strategic assets to the Korean peninsula, a day after a US B-52 bomber flew over the South in a show of military force.
The United States and South Korea are continuously and closely having discussions on additional deployment of strategic assets,” said Kim Min-seok, a spokesman at the South Korean Defense Ministry, declining to give specifics.
South Korean media said strategic assets Washington may utilize in Korea included B-2 bombers, nuclear-powered submarines and F-22 stealth fighter jets.
Seoul also said on Monday that it would restrict access to the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex just north of the heavily militarized inter-Korean border to the “minimum necessary level” starting from Tuesday.
North Korea says it exploded a hydrogen bomb last Wednesday, although the United States and other critics doubt this.