Sunday, December 19, 2010

U.S. Surrogates Vow to Proceed With Firing Drill Off Korean Island

S. Korea vows to proceed with firing drill off border island
2010-12-19 23:34:55

SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's military reaffirmed Sunday it will go ahead with its planned live-fire drill off a Yellow Sea border island, despite strong reactions from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), local media reported.

"The live-fire drill off Yeonpyeong Island will take place on Dec. 20 or 21, as previously announced, depending on weather conditions," a South Korean military official was quoted by Seoul' s Yonhap news agency as saying on Sunday.

An official at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) also said "We won't take into consideration North Korean threats and diplomatic situations before holding the live-fire drill. If weather permits, it will be held as scheduled."

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been heightened after South Korea and the DPRK exchanged artillery fire near Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23 that killed four South Koreans, while damages to the DPRK still remain unknown.

South Korea has declared plans for a live shell artillery drill in the tense waters southwest of Yeonpyeong Island on a selected date from Dec. 18-21 depending on weather conditions.

The DPRK on Friday urged Seoul to immediately stop its plans for the shelling exercise, warning that it would deliver a second and third "unpredicted self-defense counterattack" that would be bigger and more powerful than the previous one to defend its territorial waters if Seoul persisted in its plan to hold the exercise.

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