North Korea issued multiple air raid alerts this morning, warning their military services and citizens to prepare for imminent action.
State media said the first alert was made at 9:30AM this morning, but provided few details of the purpose. South Korean media reported the alert was followed up six times throughout the following hour.
The alert carried by the Pyongyang Korean Central Broadcasting Station said, “We inform all soldiers and residents! This is an air raid warning. Military units and units of all levels must quickly take measures to prevent damage from the enemy’s air strikes.”
A second alert broadcast at 10:28AM stated, “This is the Korean People’s Army [KPA] Broadcasting Station. We inform all residents and soldiers: The air raid warning is lifted.”
So far there is no indication that the alerts were related to any expected South Korean or U.S. attack, a point which indicates they were likely drills.
South Korean media outlets reacting to the news have framed the alerts as a form of civil defense training, and pointed out that North Korea has conducted air-raid alerts, blackouts and other defensive drills multiple times in the past.
Seoul Based Daily NK said of the development, “The warning will be of concern to analysts, given that Chosun Central Broadcast issued it, rather than the internal fixed-line Third Broadcast, which is affiliated with the military and is normally used for this kind of activity.”
Meanwhile, KCNA published a commentary today responding to U.S. B-52 bomber deployments in the Korean Peninsula which was said to “prove the aggressive and adventurous nature of the drills as a test nuclear war rehearsal.”
KCNA added, “If the U.S. sends B-52 to Korea again, it will meet catastrophic end by the strong military counteraction of the DPRK. Time has gone when words worked.”
North Korea’s widespread military preparations follow its promise to exact strong retaliation for ongoing U.S.-South Korean military exercises and recent UN sanctions following Pyongyang’s nuclear test last month.
North Korea shelled a ROK military base on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in 2010 after Seoul refused to cease artillery exercises along the disputed maritime border. Two South Korean marines were killed in the attack, along with two civilians contracted to work on the small island marine base.