Seoul warns of new Pyongyang attack

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The Independent Online

North Korea is likely to attack South Korea again, the South's spy chief said yesterday. "There is a high possibility that the North will make an additional attack," Won Sei-hoon, director of the National Intelligence Service, told a parliamentary committee meeting.

The South's Defence Minister, Kim Tae-young, has also warned there was an "ample possibility" the North might stage another provocation once a US-South Korea naval exercise ended yesterday.

Mr Won said wire-taps in August indicated that Pyongyang was preparing for an attack off the west coast designed to smooth the way for Kim Jong-il's son to take over as leader.

"In August this year, we confirmed North Korea's plan to attack five islands in the West Sea through wiretapping," he said. "We didn't expect the [North's] shelling on civilians, as North Korea has often made threatening remarks."

Last week, North Korea fired a barrage of artillery rounds at Yeonpyeong island in the first such attack on civilians on South Korean soil since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Two civilians were among the four killed.

Analysts say the attack was an attempt to force the resumption of international negotiations that could bring it aid, or could be seen as an attempt to boost the militaristic credentials of the country's leader-in-waiting, Kim Jong-un.