WORLD NEWS TOMORROW -SOUTH KOREA -South Korea’s military ramped up warnings over North Korea’s military provocations Monday, saying it would immediately retaliate against the communist regime’s command units if Pyongyang decides to attack.

Seoul’s stern warning came after its Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) held a random inspection earlier in the day to check the country’s defense readiness of military units including the ballistic missile command, front-line artillery units and the Air Force.

“The inspection put an emphasis on solidifying counterstrike capabilities against the units that could launch an attack on our soil, as well their support and command units,” a JCS official said on condition of anonymity.

“If provoked, we will punish the enemy’s core units, such as the headquarters of their division, corps or higher military commands.”

Maj. Gen. Lee Young-joo concurred with him, saying the South Korean military has been beefing up its military for an immediate counterstrike against the North’s top commanding military units.

“Today’s military readiness drill proved that our military is ready to punish the core forces of provocation without delay if provoked by the North,” he said.

The South’s military has been on heightened alert following a series of deadly North Korean provocations that killed 50 South Koreans in 2010 and Pyongyang’s increasingly hostile rhetoric against its southern brethren.

Earlier this month, the North Korean Army said it had entered the map coordinates for seven media firms, including the Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo and Donga Ilbo and four broadcasters in Seoul in response to allegedly negative coverage from them, implying that it may launch precision strikes against them.

In April, the North’s military also threatened an artillery attack against conservative media outlets in the South, saying units are assigned to open fire on various press headquarters in Seoul for insulting their new leader, Kim Jong-un.

Moreover, it warned that the special actions of its “revolutionary armed forces” would take place soon, and that it would annihilate the targets in “three to four minutes” or less.

Regarding concerns about its third nuclear test, the North said Saturday that it has no plan to carry out a nuclear test “at present,” while accusing the South of trying to “rattle the nerves of the North” by speculating on Pyongyang’s next military move.

Many observers predicted that the North would launch an underground nuclear test shortly after its failed launch of a long range missile, which it alleges carried a satellite, on April 13.

The North carried out nuclear tests following rocket launches in 2006 and 2009.