South Korea says it has contingency military plans to employ in case North Korea threatens the safety of the South Korean citizens working in a joint industrial zone.
“We have prepared a contingency plan, including possible military action, in case of a serious situation,” South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said on Wednesday.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-seok said on the same day that North Korea had banned nearly 480 South Koreans from entering the joint industrial complex, Kaesong, which houses more than 100 factories.
Pyongyang had earlier threatened to shut down the complex, which is located just across the northern side of the border with South Korea.
On April 1, South Korean President Park Guen-hye warned North Korea that any provocation would be met with a “strong response” after Pyongyang said it was in a “state of war” with the South. Pyongyang warned that any provocation by Seoul and Washington would trigger an “all-out nuclear war.”
The South Korean defense minister earlier said that Seoul would target North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities if hostilities erupted.
Meanwhile, the United States has sent F-22 stealth warplanes and two guided missile destroyers to the waters off the Korean Peninsula.
On March 11, Seoul and Washington launched a week-long annual joint military maneuver near the Korean Peninsula despite warnings from Pyongyang. The maneuver involved 10,000 South Korean soldiers and about 3,000 US troops.