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Tensions Mounting on Korean Peninsula

Posted by feww on April 2, 2013

China places military on highest alert amid mounting Korean tensions

China is mobilizing its military forces on the border with North Korea in response to heightened tensions, following Pyongyang’s declaration of a “state of war,” and latest threats to attack South Korea and the United States.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is now at its highest alert level, U.S. officials have said.

“China has also been conducting live-firing naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, scheduled to end on Monday. The move is widely viewed as open support for North Korea, which continues to show extreme opposition to the US-South Korean military drills that are to last until May,” said a report.

“The news comes as the US deployed its USS Fitzgerald destroyer off the coast of North Korea, adding to its Sunday deployment of F-22 fighter jets to take part in the drills with the friendly South, which has further served to heighten tensions on the peninsula.”

Meantime, Pyongyang has been mobilizing its missile forces, including road-mobile, short- and medium-range missiles, U.S. officials analyzing satellite imagery of missile bases have said.

NK to reopen Yongbyon nuclear reactor

In a separate development, North Korea announced its decision to restart operations at the Yongbyon nuclear complex on Tuesday, adding to already heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Yongbyon Magnox Reactor
5 MWe experimental Magnox reactor at Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, North Korea (2008).

Pyongyang said it would work to restart the 5-megawatt reactor and the uranium enrichment plant without delay.

The Yongbyon nuclear facility was disabled following an agreement reached  in 2007 at six-party talks (United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea).

The nuclear facilities, which produced the fissile material for North Korea’s nuclear weapon tests, is located about 90 km north of Pyongyang.

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