S Korea keeps much closer eye on the DPRK's military: defense minister

16:35, January 12, 2010      

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South Korea is keeping a much closer eye on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s military than in the past, and the DPRK seems to have beefed up its military training off the west coast, Seoul's Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Tuesday.

"We are monitoring all the moves by the North Korea (DPRK)'s military, much more closely than in the past," Kim Tae-young said in a briefing, adding that there has not been any substantial change observed.

"After the naval clash off the west coast, military trainings there seemed to have been stepped up a bit," he said, adding that no significant changes have been detected in the region yet.

"Our military is assuming the North (DPRK) can always provoke military tension under any kind of situation," Kim told reporters.

The DPRK has shown in the past provocative actions when it is hinting at peace, the minister added, referring to the DPRK's proposal on Monday to reach a peace treaty to replace an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War and left South Korea and the DPRK technically at war.

Meanwhile, Seoul has been cautious in responding to the DPRK's proposal, with a South Korean foreign ministry official telling Xinhua later Monday on condition of anonymity that the DPRK's move is "not welcome" and local media quoting officials saying the suggestion is somewhat different from Seoul's position on such talks.

South Korean government is likely to make a formal response to the issue later after it coordinates stance, according to local official.

Source: Xinhua
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