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US troops raise alert level amid heightened North Korean threat

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The tensions stirred by North Korea's
underground test of a nuclear bomb earlier this week continue to
South Korean and U.S. troops facing North Korea have boosted
their alert level.
The move follows North Korea's threat to attack any U.S. and
South Korean ships that try to intercept its vessels. That was
prompted by Seoul's decision to join a U.S.-led anti-proliferation
program aimed at stopping and inspecting ships suspected of
transporting banned weapons, including nuclear technology.
Pyongyang has long warned that it would consider the South's
participation in the program as a declaration of war. Wednesday, a
North Korean military statement vowed to deliver "a decisive and
merciless retaliatory blow" to anyone trying to inspect its
Meanwhile, diplomats at the U.N. are discussing a possible
expansion of U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

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