Dec 6, 2010


South Korea starts live-fire drills amid tensions with North Korea

  • Dec 6, 2010
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  • South Korea's military says it has started five days of live-fire artillery drills in the waters on all sides of the Korean Peninsula.

    The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the firing exercises by warships or land artillery units had started in 29 locations where firing is scheduled, including Daechong Island near the disputed sea border with North Korea. But officials declined Monday to identify specific locations where firing was taking place and media reports said no shells had been fired so far near the western sea border.

    The North Korea on November 23 killed two civilians and two marines and destroyed 29 homes in an artillery attack on Yeonpyeong island, sending regional tensions soaring.

    It said it was retaliating for a South Korean artillery drill which had lobbed some shells into waters it claims as its territory.

    Yeonpyeong has been excluded from this week's drill, but firing will take place off Daecheong island, 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the west.

    It was unclear whether the firing would be into waters claimed by the North, which refuses to accept the Northern Limit Line (NLL) sea boundary drawn by United Nations forces after the 1950-53 war.
    Seoul's new defense minister, retired General Kim Kwan-jin, has vowed a strong military response if the Pyongyang government launches another attack.

    News agencies earlier quoted South Korea's military command saying artillery was being fired Monday at Daechong Island. The officials did not explain the discrepancy.

    Top diplomats from the United States, South Korea and Japan are to meet Monday in Washington to discuss tensions on the Korean peninsula. All three countries have performed military exercises in the area since the North's attack.
    North Korea: Timeline 2010

    26 March: South Korean warship, Cheonan, sinks, killing 46 sailors
    20 May: Panel says a North Korean torpedo sank the ship; Pyongyang denies involvement
    July-September: South Korea and US hold military exercises; US places more sanctions on Pyongyang
    29 September: North holds rare party congress seen as part of father-to-son succession move
    29 October: Troops from North and South Korea exchange fire across the land border
    12 November: North Korea shows US scientist new - undeclared - uranium enrichment facility
    23 November: North shells island of Yeonpyeong, killing at least four South Koreans
    27 Nov-1 Dec: South Korea and US hold joint military drills

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