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UPDATE:- Find more information on the latest developments inside South Korea here – courtesy of Spineless Liberal.

 

President Lee Myung-Bak of South Korea has apparently cancelled all appointments, and put South Korea on the defensive following the news of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il‘s death.

All South Korean armed forces units are now on “emergency alert” and the Presidential ‘Blue House’ has called an emergency National Security meeting.

This means that all government officials are restricted against taking leave or travel, and are required to maintain emergency contact with the main office.

Also…

Officials said they may raise the “Defcon,” a five-stage combat alert level, from its current level of four to three, and may also increase the Watchcon, an anti-North Korea surveillance alert, from three to two. Watchcon two signifies a state of emergency with indications of a vital threat from North Korea.

The South last raised its Watchcon to two immediately after the North shelled Yeonpyeong Island, just south of the Yellow Sea border on Nov. 23, killing two marines and two civilians.

“We’re keeping close tabs on the demilitarized zone (DMZ), Joint Security Area (JSA) and Northern Limit Line (NLL) for possibilities of North Korean provocations,” one JCS official said, referring to volatile border areas on land and in sea.

According to the JCS [Joint Chief's of Staff], the Master Control and Report Center (MCRC) at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, which handles aerial monitoring and analysis, plans to ask for reinforcement by both South Korean and U.S. forces.

Army Gen. Jung Seung-jo, chairman of the JCS, is on his way back to Seoul from a field trip to frontline units, officials said.

South Korea’s men may also be re-enlisted into the army if the crisis escalated.

This is incredibly good sense from the South Koreans – any new leader in North Korea is likely to want to cement his power quickly. A simple way to do this would be with an overt show of militarism, naturally directed against perennial enemies South Korea and the United States.

On the other hand, any internal shuffling – and it is likely that Kim Jong-Un, the supposed new leader, will be purging North Korea’s élite of his father’s loyalists – would be a moment of weakness, one easy for other nations to take advantage of.  They may very well show an olive branch of peace in order to allow the transition to occur smoothly. Although, with Kim Jong-Il’s death on Saturday only being reported now,

Read an interesting discussion of relative military strength here.

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