In the recent flurry of articles stating that North Korea has entered into a war-ready state and that its media and political institutions have withdrawn from active duty, New Focus attempted to connect in the usual way with correspondents inside North Korea in order to confirm these reports. Since it is not possible to make contact prior to agreeing on a date and time in advance, contact was made at the time previously arranged. However, New Focus was unable to get through. Even an attempt through emergency channels that are only used as a last resort failed to elicit a response.
This appears to confirm that from the 9th onwards, North Korea entered into a state of emergency, effectively a war-ready state. One correspondent in Dandong (in northern China, near the border) told New Focus that with a diminished quantity of goods clearing customs and a reduction in the passage of North Korean businessmen, the sense of impending military crisis that was felt following the death of Kim Jong-il has returned. He added that despite such observations, it was impossible to be certain about the situation in North Korea at present – especially as all regular channels of communication have been shut down.
After the new round of international sanctions and beginning of joint ROK-US military drills in the area, North Korea is likely to be especially tense. The ROK administration has stated its position in forceful terms, and even though the DPRK has entered into a war-ready state, it is unlikely that they would take military action during the time of ROK-US joint-military drills. The most North Korea may be willing to risk is to respond to the drills by conducting domestic military exercises such as army and artillery drills, and militia mobilization.