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Seoul to stage live-fire drill near North Korea border

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 12:03

Seoul: South Korea was to stage
live-fire artillery exercises on two islands near the tense
border with North Korea, including one hit by a deadly barrage
from the North last November.

The one-day "regular" exercises would be carried out
on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands in the Yellow Sea, a
defence ministry spokesman said without giving a time for the
firing or other details.
Yonhap news agency, quoting military sources, said
marines would fire K-9 self-propelled howitzers, Vulcan cannon
and 81mm mortars during the two-hour drill.

About 10 US military officers would attend the
exercises as observers, it said.

A similar South Korean drill last November was
answered by a North Korean artillery and rocket attack on
Yeonpyeong island, which killed two marines and two civilians.

The North said it was responding to the "provocative"
drill, which dropped shells into waters it claims around the
disputed border.

The South said its exercise was routine, with weapons
pointed away from the North`s coastline.
Tuesday`s drills will be the second live-fire exercise
on the two islands this year. The previous one passed without
incident despite threats from the North to hit back.

Tensions along the Yellow Sea border have been acute
since the shelling, the first attack on a civilian-populated
area in the South since the 1950-53 war.

The South also accuses the North of torpedoing a
warship near the border in March 2010 with the loss of 46
sailors. The North denies involvement in the sinking.


First Published: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 12:03

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