South Korea conducts civil defense drill to prepare for enemy attack

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Aug. 23, 2017 at 2:30 PM
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Aug. 23 (UPI) -- South Korea conducted some of its most comprehensive civil defense drills in recent memory in preparation for a potential North Korea attack.

But with the exception of a few key areas in Seoul and other cities, the drills invited confusion as well as indifference among ordinary South Koreans more eager to go about their daily lives, according to Yonhap.

The drills began at 2 p.m. local time on Wednesday and lasted about 20 minutes, with South Korea's new prime minister Lee Nak-yeon taking part in one of the evacuation practices.

The exercises designed for civilians began with a siren warning in key parts of the country that would be activated when guided missiles or enemy air raids are detected across the border.

For 20 minutes, the drill stopped traffic in key parts of Seoul, including the central business district, or Gwanghwamun.

Drivers were ordered to turn off the ignition of their cars and wait for instructions from radio-transmitted announcements.

A fighter plane flew over the capital, reenacting a potential North Korea attack with the release of smoke bombs.

Pedestrians in some parts of town were guided to a nearby underground shelter or a subterranean walkway and ordered to take cover by evacuation guards.

Outside Seoul, residents on the border islands of Baengnyeong-do and Yeonpyeong-do underwent a 20-minute drill that included an evacuation.

Yeonpyeong-do was bombarded in 2010 with North Korean artillery shells.

In some areas of Seoul, however, pedestrians and drivers did not follow orders to evacuate. Instructions were sometimes not given and the hum of activities appeared uninterrupted, Yonhap reported.

Some South Koreans said they "did not know" civilian defense drills were taking place on Wednesday, according to the report.

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