South Korea will hold a meeting of senior security officials Friday to discuss rising tensions with North Korea amid war threats from the communist nation, a presidential official said.
Senior presidential security secretary Ju Chul-ki will preside over the meeting that is also expected to draw deputy chiefs of the defense ministry, the foreign ministry, the unification ministry and the National Intelligence Service, the official said.
The session will be the first of its kind since the inauguration of the new government.
North Korea has sharply escalated its bellicose rhetoric in recent weeks in response to annual military exercises that South Korea has been holding jointly with the United States and international efforts to punish the regime for its third nuclear test.
Pyongyang has threatened to launch a "preemptive nuclear strike," scrap the cease-fire that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, and turn Seoul and Washington into a "sea of fire." On Thursday, the country's foreign ministry warned that "a second Korean War is unavoidable."
The communist nation is expected to further ratchet up strident rhetoric in response to a new sanctions resolution that the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted in New York on Thursday as punishment for the Feb. 12 nuclear test.
South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party welcomed the resolution, saying it is a natural consequence of the North's nuclear test.
"North Korea should accept the international community's unanimous warning and immediately scrap its entire nuclear program as well as its programs for developing long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction," Saenuri spokesman Lee Sang-il said in a written statement. (Yonhap News)