ROK starts live-fire exercise amid lingering tension

Updated: 2010-12-06 14:22


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SEOUL - South Korea started Monday a live-fire drill in 29 sites around the country including a western island near a disputed sea border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the South Korean navy said.

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What military officials said was part of routine drills was suspended after the DPRK's deadly artillery bombardment on November 23 on the South Korean border island of Yeongpyeong, which killed two civilians and two marines.

Seoul has warned ships to avoid the 29 areas off all three coasts of the Korean peninsula, designated for the exercises.

Pyongyang on Sunday railed against the five-day drills near the maritime border it refuses to acknowledge, calling it "an effort to trigger a war."

The live-fire exercise comes after Seoul and Washington wrapped up massive joint naval drills in the Yellow Sea, the latest overt show of force against Pyongyang following the exchange of fire between the two Koreas.

Pyongyang claims its bombardment of the Yeonpyeong island was for self-defense and was provoked by South Korean and US forces then engaged in an annual exercise.

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