So. Korea mulls nationwide defense drill

Feb. 18, 2011 at 10:58 AM
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SEOUL, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- South Korea is considering a nationwide civilian-military defense drill to prepare for future attacks from the North, an official said Friday.

The exercise would speed evacuation of civilians from border areas in the event of another incident like the Nov. 23 artillery strike on Yeonpyeong Island that killed four people and uprooted 1,300, an aide to the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Yonhap after a top-level meeting of military and civilian leaders.

"An integrated defense readiness" is necessary "to swiftly transport residents and accommodate them," the official said.

President Lee Myung-bak reaffirmed that "the government will make constant efforts for peace on the Korean Peninsula and co-prosperity," his spokeswoman said. But he added, "Peace can be maintained only when we deter North Korea's provocations through perception of national security."

Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik warned, "Seeing the situation in North Korea, there is a chance of its military provoking again."

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