S Korea starts live-fire drills amid tensions with N Korea

S Korea`s military has begun a major live-fire exercise stoking tension in the Korean Peninsula.

Seoul: South Korea`s military Monday began a
major live-fire exercise amid high tensions following North
Korea`s deadly bombardment of a border island last month,
officials said.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the firing exercises
by warships or artillery units on land had started in 29
locations, including one of five frontline islands near the
disputed Yellow Sea border with the North.

The North on November 23 killed two civilians and two
marines in an artillery attack on Yeonpyeong island, sending
regional tensions soaring.

Yesterday it called the upcoming drill, scheduled to take
place off all three coasts of the peninsula from Monday to
Friday, an effort to trigger a war.

A JCS spokesman said he did "not even feel the need to
comment" on the North`s latest statement.

He quoted South Korea`s new Defence Minister Kim Kwan-Jin
as saying: "The drills carried out south of the Northern Limit
Line, in our sea territory, are a fair and just exercise, and we will carry out the drills no matter what."
The military said Monday`s drill was taking place on
Daecheong island, 80 kilometres west of Yeonpyeong, and at 28
other locations around the country.

Kim last week vowed to hit back with air strikes should
the North stage a new attack.
The North refuses to accept the Northern Limit Line sea
border drawn by United Nations forces after the 1950-53 war,
and demands it be redrawn further to the south.