News


DATE=3/13/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-228077
TITLE=N.KOREA MOBILIZATION (L-ONLY)
BYLINE=JOHN LARKIN
DATELINE=SEOUL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  NORTH KOREA SET ALARM BELLS RINGING AROUND THE WORLD ON 
FRIDAY WHEN IT DECLARED IT WAS ON A WAR FOOTING.  BUT JOHN LARKIN
REPORTS FROM SEOUL, THE INITIAL CONCERN AT THE DECLARATION IS 
FADING.

TEXT:  NORTH KOREA'S COMMUNIST REGIME ANNOUNCED IT WAS IN A STATE
OF WHAT IT TERMED "WARTIME MOBILIZATION."  THE OUTBURST COINCIDED
WITH ANNUAL MILITARY EXERCISES AND RENEWED PEACE TALKS WITH SOUTH
KOREA IN GENEVA NEXT WEEK.

THE STATE OF EMERGENCY BEGAN AT MIDNIGHT ON THURSDAY. FOREIGNERS 
IN NORTH KOREA WILL BE CONFINED TO THE CAPITAL OF PYONGYANG,  
ACCORDING TO A GOVERNMENT STATEMENT, WHICH ALSO CONDEMNS RECENT 
JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES BETWEEN SOUTH KOREA AND THE UNITED 
STATES.

A SPOKESMAN FOR SOUTH KOREA'S MINISTRY FOR DEFENSE PLAYED DOWN 
THE DECLARATION, DESCRIBING IT AS PART OF A NORMAL MILITARY 
EXERCISE.

A U-S STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL SAYS THERE IS  NO  INDICATION OF 
UNUSUAL MILITARY MOVEMENTS IN THE COMMUNIST NORTH.

NEVERTHELESS, THE REPORT WAS A SCARE FOR DIPLOMATS AND FINANCIAL 
MARKETS IN SEOUL.

NORTH KOREA'S DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER, LI IN-GYU, TOLD DIPLOMATS 
IN BEIJING THE EXERCISE WAS STAGED IN RESPONSE TO A GROWING 
THREAT OF FOREIGN INVASION.

MILITARY EXERCISES ARE TRADITIONALLY HELD THIS TIME OF YEAR.  
SIRENS WAIL THROUGHOUT PYONGYANG, AND CITIZENS RUN TO AIR-RAID 
SHELTERS.

EXPERTS SAY THE REGIME PROBABLY WANTED TO RAISE TENSIONS BEFORE 
THE GENEVA TALKS, WHICH ARE DESIGNED TO TIE THE TWO KOREAS TO A 
PERMANENT PEACE TREATY.

THE INCIDENT COMES ALSO AS FAMINE TIGHTENS ITS GRIP ON NORTH 
KOREA.  LAST WEEK THE NORTH REPORTED IT WILL RUN OUT OF GRAIN 
ENTIRELY UNLESS FURTHER SUPPLIES ARE FOUND WITHIN WEEKS.   
(SIGNED)

NEB/JL/GC/WTW

13-Mar-98 6:28 AM EST (1128 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.