TODAY

TODAY   |  April 08, 2013

Officials prepare South Koreans for attack

As North Korea releases propaganda videos showing dogs attacking effigies of the South Korean defense minister, South Korean officials are preparing their citizens for the worst, issuing pamphlets outlining what to do in case of a nuclear attack. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> we are following breaking news out of north korea . this morning, tens of thousands of workers from the north are being recalled from the industrial park which shoulders south korea . nbc's chief correspondent richard engel is in seoul with details. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning. north korea said it will pull its roughly 50,000 workers from this joint economic zone, yet another break in relations as pyongyang is continuing to beat the war drum. even the dogs in north korea are trained to defend the fatherland. state propaganda showed them set loose on effigies of south korea 's defense minister as the leader, kim jong -un reviewed his troop's marksmanship and then showed them how it's done, pinging targets cowboy style . the propaganda may seem ridiculous but north korea is a nuclear state with a leader under 30 playing chicken with the world.

>> i think we're in the most dangerous situation in decades.

>> reporter: south korea remains calm, but those who live near the han river separating the two koreas are starting to contemplate, what if. this city of 1 million is just a few miles from the north korean border and now, local officials here are telling residents to prepare for the worst, a possible nuclear, biological and chemical attack and if one comes to find shelter, preferablebally underground, as quickly as possible. workers at city hall have prepared tens of thousands of pamphlets. it's ominous stuff, how to react if you see a mushroom cloud or if all the birds and fish suddenly die. public official said they're going up in every apartment building here. this is a map of the shelters?

>> yes.

>> this shows people where they can go and hide?

>> yes.

>> reporter: north korea may not really want a war but may not know when to stop bluffing either.

>> and richard, there's word there may be another nuclear test this weekend from north korea ? what do you know about that?

>> reporter: south korean officials had initially said that they thought north korea could perhaps eminently carry out yet another nuclear weapons test . now, however, they're saying they only see increased activity at an underground facility that north korea has used to test weapons in the past. this is a network of tunnels. that increased activity could indicate that a test could be coming if that were to happen, it would be a much bigger provocation than even the test missile launch which officials in south carolina expect will go forward potentially this week.

>> richard engel live in south