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South Korea prepares for live-ammo drills

  |   Dec. 3, 2010 at 8:57 AM
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SEOUL, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- South Korea will conduct live-ammunition drills along islands near its maritime border with North Korea soon, defense officials said Friday.

Military officials said troops were preparing for "further provocations" from North Korea, such as possible attacks on anti-North Korea loudspeakers in border areas or on South Korean ships patrolling the Yellow Sea, Yonhap reported.

"We plan to resume live-fire artillery drills near five islands in the Yellow Sea, including Yeonpyeong, as soon as possible," said a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "Ahead of the drills, we are checking countermeasures against North Korea's further provocations and deployed weapons to launch a counterstrike if the North provokes again during the drills."

North Korea initiated an artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island in late November, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians.

The Joint Chiefs said the military plans to hold the live-fire artillery drills in 29 locations.

South Korea and the United States just concluded four days of naval drills, meant as a warning to North Korea, Yonhap said. The United States and Japan began military exercise in southern Japanese waters near South Korea Friday. South Korean military officers are participating as observers.

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