The North Korean authorities have ordered the entire army into “combat mode,” a move interpreted as an attempt to tighten security and consolidate sentiment in response to Foal Eagle (FE), the annual military drills conducted by South Korea and the US, which began in early March.
A source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK that following the order from Kim Jong Un, every last soldier– even if away on business, on leave, off-base for training, or even those with a recent death in the family–were ordered back to their units. The authorities have ordered the military police in each region to summon all soldiers back to their bases.
“The 1st Corps was ordered to fully prepare for combat. In particular, they were instructed to move mechanized combat equipment to strategic areas, including artillery pieces and tanks that were housed underground,” he said.
The 1st Corps is responsible for the defense of areas considered vulnerable due to their proximity to South Korea, including areas of North Hwanghae Province, South Hwanghae Province, and Kangwon Province. According to the source, combat equipment including cannons (except marine artillery shells), tanks, and armored vehicles, are normally stored in mines and are moved to strategic operational positions whenever combat readiness orders are handed down.
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