Live-fire drill held on Yeonpyeong

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Live-fire drill held on Yeonpyeong

South Korea’s military conducted a live-fire artillery drill yesterday on a border island shelled by North Korea last November, officials said, the second firing drill since the North’s bombardment.

Marines carried out the firing exercise on Yeonpyeong Island, near the tense Yellow Sea border with North Korea, about 9:30 a.m. It was scheduled to last about three hours, said Col. Lee Bung-woo, a spokesman of the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

Another firing drill took place the same day on Baengnyeong Island, the closest island to the sea border, Lee said.

“These exercises are being staged as part of our routine drills,” Lee said, adding that the South’s military has not detected any unusual military movements by the North.

Air Force fighter jets were on standby during the drill, Lee said.

“We will continue to conduct live-fire drills on border islands on a regular basis to bolster military capabilities there,” he said.

JCS officials said, as always, the artillery guns used in the drill were aimed south, away from North Korea.

K9 howitzers, 81-millimeter mortar guns and Vulcan guns were mobilized for the drill, according to the official.

Four South Koreans - two marines and two civilians - were killed in the North’s Nov. 23 shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

Pyongyang claims its artillery strike on Yeonpyeong was in self-defense because it was provoked by Seoul’s live-fire drill near the island. Seoul, however, said the drill was part of routine training and no shells landed in the North’s territory, instead accusing Pyongyang of a premeditated attack.

The South’s military held a live-fire drill on Yeonpyeong on Dec. 20, amid the North’s pledge of retaliation. Later in the day, the North said it would not retaliate over the drill, saying it was “not worth reacting.”

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