North Korean service personnel have taken a special oath on Tuesday (25 July) towards their war readiness ahead of a key anniversary. Troops from all three services – army, navy and air force – took part in the ceremony as the hermit kingdom is set to mark the 64th anniversary of the armistice, which technically ended the 1950-53 Korean War, on 27 July.
The reclusive Pyongyang regime has been ratcheting up tensions in the Korean peninsula since several months with repeated missile launches despite widespread international condemnation. There are also expectations that Kim Jong-un would order another missile launch in the coming days.
The Korean People's Army's (KPA) Vice Marshal, Hwang Pyong-so addressed the military gathering on the occasion, which the North marks as a victory day. Since the Korean War ended only in an armistice and not a peace agreement, the two rival Koreas are still technically at war only.
Hwang called for "waging more dynamic struggle to add shine to the history of great victory in the war generation after generation and bring July 27 of final victory as early as possible," said a report by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
South Korean military forces are also closely monitoring the North for any provocation on the anniversary as Pyongyang is known to carry out such acts on key occasions. Following reports from the US suggesting North Korea could be gearing up for yet another missile launch citing the movement of vehicles, South Korean authorities said their military remains vigilant.
Meanwhile, the North is yet to officially respond to South Korea's offer of military talks though Seoul has shown interest in easing the Korean peninsula tensions through dialogue. A North Korean daily had earlier rejected the talks offer but there is no official communication from the regime.