The drill Monday involved howitzers, mortars and attack helicopters, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. It took place on islands off the west coast of the Korean peninsula where tensions have flared in the past. Seoul notified the North on Sunday of the drill, a regular live-fire exercise that lasts an hour. About 1,000 island residents were moved to safe areas during the drill, Yonhap reported, citing military officials.
In late 2010, North Korea responded to a South Korean military exercise in the same area by firing artillery at Yeonpyeong Island, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians. The death in December of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and the subsequent anointment of his son and chosen successor, Kim Jong Un, has created uncertainty about the future direction of the secretive regime in Pyongyang.
Further tensions over military maneuvers on the Korean peninsula are expected in the coming weeks. There are two joint exercises planned involving thousands of U.S. and South Korean forces scheduled between February and April.
Image: The Guardian