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South Korean forces remain on heightened alert over concerns that North Korean military forces will attempt a new military provocation, as occurred several years ago when a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean coastal patrol ship and then fired artillery on a South Korean island near the Northern Limit Line delineating North and South Korea waters even with the 38th parallel.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said any further military provocation would trigger a South Korean military response, which analysts fear could trigger a new Korea war.

North Korea, angered over a new United Nations resolution condemning its latest underground nuclear test, announced it was pulling out of the 1953 armistice agreement ending hostilities during the Korean War.

Intelligence sources said they do not expect North Korea to conduct a provocation during the military exercises in South Korea when troops and forces are ready to conduct large-scale operations.

However, a future military provocation by Pyongyang could take place in May, after the war games end.

North Korea’s communist government also has stepped up harsh rhetoric with threats to use nuclear missile attacks against both South Korea and the United States.

Propaganda organs recently issued videos on YouTube showing nuclear missile attacks on New York City and U.S. troops in flames from a nuclear strike.

A North Korean general also said recently that the military has missiles equipped with nuclear warheads ready for launch.

The Pentagon on Friday announced it would increase the number of ground-based missile defense interceptors in Alaska and California based on new intelligence indicating North Korea has deployed a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile called the KN-08.

The missile has not been flight-tested, but U.S. intelligence agencies believe it is in the process of being fielded and has enough range to reach the United States with a compact nuclear warhead.

Carter, the deputy defense secretary, said he met with senior South Korean officials and is confident the alliance remains strong.

“The key topic of our discussions today was North Korea and its continued pattern of provocative actions that pose a serious threat to the United States and Republic of Korea as well as to regional and global stability,” Carter said.

“The United States is working with friends and allies around the world and is employing an integrated response to these unacceptable provocations: The United Nations Security Council resolutions with unprecedentedly strong sanctions, additional unilateral sanctions of great effect, and all together the progressive isolation of North Korea.”

The additional missile defense deployments, Carter said, are aimed at bolstering missile defenses as part of “our determination to keep ahead of the progression of the North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile development.”

Carter also said he would observe the military exercises.

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