S.Korea to go ahead with drill despite N.Korea threat

AFP, Saturday 18 Dec 2010

Korea 1
South Korean soldiers patrol along the fence near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas (Reuters)

South Korea's military said Saturday it would go ahead with a live-fire drill on a border island bombarded by North Korea last month, despite the North's threat to strike back with deadlier firepower.

But an AFP photographer on Yeonpyeong island said the atmosphere was calm and a media report said the one-day drill -- scheduled for sometime between Saturday and Tuesday -- may be pushed back.

"There is no change in our stance with regards to the live-fire exercise," a defence ministry spokesman told AFP. "We cannot confirm... whether we will carry out the exercise today."

The North threatened Friday to "deal the second and third unpredictable self-defensive blow" if the artillery exercise goes ahead. "It will be deadlier than what was made on November 23 in terms of the powerfulness and sphere of the strike," its military said.

Seoul's defence ministry Friday had indicated the drill would go ahead, saying it did not need "to react to every single threat and unreasonable statement".
The bombardment of Yeonpyeong island last month killed two marines and two civilians, injured 18 people and damaged dozens of homes. It came after a firing drill into the sea by South Korean marines based on the island.

A military source quoted by Yonhap news agency said the firing might be delayed a day or two because the weather was expected to worsen Saturday afternoon.
"Weather conditions are the most important factor in deciding the time for a drill. Early next week will be the most likely time to hold it because the weather should improve," the source said.

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