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North Korea orders troops on war footing after exchange of fire with South

© Reuters. South Korea's President Park Geun-hye presides over a special National Security Council meeting at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul

By Ju-min Park and Tony Munroe

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his troops onto a war footing from 5 p.m on Friday after Pyongyang issued an ultimatum to Seoul to halt anti-North propaganda broadcasts by Saturday afternoon or face military action.

Tension on the divided peninsula escalated on Thursday when North Korea fired shells into South Korea to protest against the loudspeaker broadcasts from the Korean border. The South responded with its own artillery barrage.

Both sides said there were no casualties or damage in their territory.

The North's shelling came after it had demanded last weekend that South Korea end the broadcasts or face military action - a relatively rare case of it following up on its frequent threats against the South.

Its 48-hour ultimatum to halt the broadcasts, delivered in a letter to the South Korean Defence Ministry via a joint military communications channel, was also uncharacteristically specific.

A South Korean military official said the broadcasts would continue.

The North Korean leader would put his troops on a...


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