Seoul has raised its surveillance of North Korea believing the bellicose state could have moved one or more long range missiles to the east coast in readiness for a launch.
The Combined Forces Command in Seoul raised its “Watchcon 3” status by one level in order to step up monitoring and increase the number of intelligence staff, though this remains within normal defence conditions.
Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of US forces in the Pacific region said the US military believes Pyongyang could have moved a number of Musudan missiles to the coast.
This North Korean made missile is believed to have a range of between 2,500 to 4,000 kilometres. The lower range would cover the whole of South Korea and Japan while the higher estimate would place the US base in Guam under threat.
On Tuesday Pyongyang told foreigners they should leave South Korea to avoid being dragged into a “thermonuclear war”, but on Wednesday morning the streets of the capital, Seoul, appeared to be carrying on as normal.
One resident there, Cheng Lee, said she was unconcerned by Pyongyang’s posturing:
“The situation is not good, but many people don’t really care, because we know that North Korea will threaten us like this again, as they’ve done it again and again.”
Foreign embassies in the capital have also played down the latest threats, but another native of Seoul, Blair Lee, appeared a little more worried:
“They might bomb us, here. So yes, I’m afraid,” she said. “I’m afraid. If they bomb us, we could all die.”
Even if the threats are largely dismissed as rhetoric, Seoul and its allies will be keeping a watchful eye on its unpredictable neighbour to the north.