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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, host:

And I'm David Greene.

We're going to begin this morning with two reports on the tensions in the Korean Peninsula. In a moment, well hear from the head of the World Food Program, in Northeast Asia. But first, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in South Korea, on the last leg of her tour of the region.

From Seoul, Doualy Xaykaothao has this report on Secretary Clintons visit.

DOUALY XAYKAOTHAO: During a joint press briefing with South Korea's foreign minister, Hillary Clinton said the U.S. and South Korean militaries have announced plans for joint exercises.

Secretary HILLARY CLINTON (U.S. State Department): And we will explore further enhancements to our posture on the peninsula to ensure readiness and to deter future attacks. The United States is also reviewing additional options and authorities to hold North Korea and its leaders accountable.

XAYKAOTHAO: Clinton called on North Korea to halt its provocations and its policy of threats, and take steps to fulfill its denuclearization commitments and comply with international law.

Sec. CLINTON: North Korea can still choose another path. Instead of isolation, poverty, conflict and condemnation, North Korea could enjoy integration, prosperity, peace and respect.

XAYKAOTHAO: Her comments come against the backdrop of South Korea announcing measures to punish the North for the alleged attack, including stopping trade with North Korea, stopping the Norths cargo ships from using its shipping lines, and after a six-year suspension, the South also began rebroadcasting radio propaganda across the heavily militarized border. North Korea, in turn, began broadcasting its own propaganda. This was heard today near the heavily militarized border between the North and South.

(Soundbite of radio broadcast)

Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)

XAYKAOTHAO: During a media tour to Panmunjom, a South Korean soldier warns visitors about security at the DMZ.

Unidentified Man #2 (South Korean Soldier): OK, now we are approaching the Joint Security Area and Checkpoint Charlie. This checkpoint is made 24 hours a day, and regulates all traffic in and out of the Joint Security Area. As I told you before, the Joint Security Area - the tension is higher, like the highest ever, so you'll be able to feel the tension with your skin. So during the tour today, please do not point at them or make any gestures toward the North Koreans. Or do not try to communicate with the North Koreans, please.

XAYKAOTHAO: Off the bus, you can see and hear the calm of the border.

(Soundbite of birds)

XAYKAOTHAO: When the media tour is over, visitors can stop at Imjingak, a tourist site just below the DMZ.

(Soundbite of music)

XAYKAOTHAO: A South Korean love song plays from a vendor trying to sell old CDs and DMZ memorabilia. Chung Seong-chun is 65 years old. Hes a guide, and he says he's not worried at all - that tourists aren't concerned about North Korea threatening an all-out war.

Mr. CHUNG SEONG-CHUN (Vendor): (Through translator) As I was saying, when people get annoyed, they tense up, so they threaten a war. But they think, too. They wouldnt do things without thinking.

XAYKAOTHAO: But back in Seoul, at South Koreas war memorial, 23-year-old Kim Byeong-hee says hes very concerned.

Mr. KIM BYEONG-HEE: (Foreign language spoken)

XAYKAOTHAO: It frustrates me, he said. We are divided, and there might be a war. Unlike other countries, U.S. soldiers are stationed here because of North Korea, he says, and that scares him.

For NPR News, I'm Doualy Xaykaothao in Seoul.

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