Seoul: South Korea will hold a major
military exercise near the disputed Yellow Sea border with
North Korea later this month on the eve of a global forum in
Seoul, officials said on Wednesday.
The drill involving warships, jet fighters and marine
units will be staged on March 25 as part of events to mark the
second anniversary of the sinking of a corvette, the defence
Seoul accused its neighbour of torpedoing the ship on
March 26, 2010, with the loss of 46 lives. The North denied
responsibility for the sinking but shelled a South Korean
border island eight months later, killing four people.
The exercise will show "our firm readiness to punish"
any provocations by the North, a senior ministry official told
He said soldiers would hold drills or rallies separately
at their barracks on March 26, when dozens of national leaders
including US President Barack Obama gather for the Nuclear
Security Summit in the capital.
The summit will focus on ways to safeguard atomic
material worldwide and prevent acts of nuclear terrorism. The
North has blasted it as an "unsavoury burlesque" intended to
justify an atomic attack by South Korea and its US ally.
Pyongyang`s new leaders have agreed a nuclear deal
with the United States but have taken a consistently hostile
tone with the South`s conservative government and its
President, Lee Myung-Bak.
The North has several times threatened to launch a
"sacred" war against the South over what it sees as insults to
new leader Kim Jong-Un and his late father Kim Il-Sung.
The South`s Yonhap news agency said today that about 130
North Korean officials visited the tense land frontier last
week as Pyongyang intensified its threats.
US and South Korean military officials had no comment
on the report.