Skip to comments.(2nd LD) S. Korea holds live-fire drill despite North's warning
Posted on 01/28/2014 5:30:31 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
(2nd LD) S. Korea holds live-fire drill despite North's warning
By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Tuesday carried out a live-fire drill on its northwestern islands despite North Korea's warning of "grave consequences," but the closely-watched exercise ended without clashes with the communist state.
South Korea has carried out live-fire exercises on the frontline islands every two or three months to improve Marine Corps' readiness. The drills have often been met by protest from Pyongyang.
Ahead of Tuesday's exercise, the North's National Defense Commission sent a fax through the western military hotline to National Security Office chief Kim Jang-soo urging President Park Geun-hye to cancel it, defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.
"North Korea called on South Korea to stop the live-fire artillery exercise, threatening grave consequences," Kim said during a morning briefing.
The South Korean defense ministry's policy director immediately replied to the North to stress that the naval drill is a "legitimate exercise" that is held in its own territorial waters, and the family reunions should not be affected by the exercise, Kim said.
The South Korean military is maintaining a firm readiness against any North Korean attacks and will strike back if provoked, Kim added.
Later in the day, artillery batteries stationed at Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong islands, located just south of the western maritime border, carried out the live-fire exercise for an hour, involving K-9 self-propelled howitzers, tank guns and Vulcan anti-aircraft guns. There were no special movements by the North Korean military, according to military officials.
Seoul has bolstered its capabilities near the border after the North fired artillery at Yeonpyeong in 2010, which lies just 11 ㎞ from North Korean shores, killing four South Koreans.
The routine drill was closely watched amid rising hope of thawed inter-Korean ties as the two Koreas are seeking to hold reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War in mid-February.
Following Pyongyang's recent peace gestures, Seoul officials have been analyzing the intentions behind the unpredictable regime's recent move, while keeping close tabs on the North Korean military.
The North Korean military has been carrying out its winter drills since early December, but it has temporarily stopped sending propaganda leaflets through the border since earlier this month, according to multiple sources.
North Korea has occasionally floated fliers condemning the South Korean government over the border, but its military had sent large numbers of leaflets using hot air balloons near its western front, starting in early December.
The leaflets, under the name of the Korean People's Army, threatened to mercilessly strike Marine Corps bases on South Korea's northwestern islands, stressing its words were not empty.
Since Pyongyang called on Seoul to halt all acts provoking and slandering the other side in mid-January, propaganda balloons have not been detected near the western front, sources familiar with the matter said.
"As the North Korean military has halted sending propaganda leaflets in the last two weeks, we are conducting an in-depth analysis into their intentions," a senior military official said, asking for anonymity. "Leaflets that strongly denounce South Korea have not been found near Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong Islands."
Marine Corps troops are stationed on the front-line islands in the Yellow Sea, where several naval skirmishes with North Korea have taken place in the past decade.
Another source said the leaflets haven't been collected near the northwestern islands since Jan. 4, noting an intelligence analysis is currently underway.
"At this point, it is not clear whether North Korea didn't fly leaflets due to weather conditions or stopped because of a certain intention," the source said.
As potential follow-up measures to the reconciliatory rhetoric, Seoul officials expected the North might temporarily halt its ongoing winter drills, pull back its attack helicopters deployed near the western border islands or stop sending propaganda leaflets to the South.
Despite the North's repeated calls for the cancellation of the joint drills between South Korea and the United States, the two allies have said they will go ahead with their joint exercises as planned between late February and April, saying they are "defensive in nature."
North Korea is a moronic paper tiger lead by an evil cartoon character.
One side’s ready for war and the other’s a paper Tigger ready to get blown away.
I guess I should have read at least down to post 3. ;-]
BOY Chia Chub getting frisky here
“North Korea is a moronic paper tiger lead by an evil cartoon character.”
...with nuclear weapons.
*North Korea is a moronic paper tiger lead by an evil cartoon character.
...with nuclear weapons.*
They got ‘em, but they don’t use ‘em, fortunately.
Kim Dung is probably too stupid to figure out how to fire one and too arrogant to ask someone to do it for him.