North Korea threatens 'merciless' action over drills
Sunday 19 February 2012
North Korea today threatened to launch "merciless" strikes against
South Korea over its planned live-fire drills near their disputed sea
South Korea plans to stage regular one-day artillery drills tomorrow from front-line islands off the western coast, including one shelled by North Korea in 2010, according to Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff. It said South Korea informed North Korea of its training plan today.
The North's military issued a statement warning of "merciless retaliatory strikes" if the training is implemented.
"Such move of the war-like forces is a premeditated military provocation ... to drive the overall situation on the Korean peninsula into the phase of war," a North Korean western military command said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
In Seoul, an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that South Korea's military will go ahead with the planned two-hour artillery drills and is ready to repel any potential North Korean provocation.
South Korea also plans joint anti-submarine drills with the United States this week, but the training site is further south, he said. About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea as what US and South Korean officials call deterrence against North Korean aggression.
South Korea regularly conducts artillery drills from front-line islands. A November 2010 drill at one of the five islands, Yeonpyeong, triggered a North Korean artillery bombardment that killed four South Koreans. Pyongyang has accused Seoul of provoking the attack by conducting drills in its territorial waters.
The North frequently issues similar rhetoric against South Korea, but the latest warning comes as ties between the Koreas remain tense following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in December.
South Korea has barred all of its citizens, except for two private delegations, from visiting to pay respects to Kim, and North Korea has vowed to retaliate.
"The Lee Myung-bak group of traitors should not forget the lesson taught by the Yeonpyeong Island shelling case," the North's statement said, referring to the South Korean president.
It warned all civilians living or working on the islands to evacuate before the drills start.
The North's warning also came four days before US and North Korean officials meet in Beijing for talks on the country's nuclear weapons programme. The talks will be the first such bilateral contact since Kim's death in December.
The Korean peninsula remains technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says they 'messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses, study says
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a world leader ...
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...