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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

South Korea on Alert

South Korea, living in the shadow of North Korea's suspected nuclear threat, said Thursday it should boost defenses to counter a "high possibility of military provocation."

In a report to President Kim Young-sam, Defense Minister Rhee Byoung-tae said Pyongyang's Stalinist government had completed preparations for war and had declared next year as the time for unification of the peninsula.

"We therefore judge we should maintain our armed forces on a security alert higher than ever before," Rhee said.

Rhee's hawkish report was, however, in contrast to one from the Unification Ministry, which said South Korea would seek change in North Korea by expanding inter-Korean contacts.

"The government will try to induce North Korea to open and change through step-by-step expansion of South-North exchanges," Unification Minister Lee Yung-dug said.