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International Forum Discuss Defense ministry: South Korea starts live-fire drill at the Political Forums; Defense ministry: South Korea starts live-fire drill Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- South Korea's planned live-fire military exercises started Monday ...

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Old 12-20-2010, 01:47 AM
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Default Defense ministry: South Korea starts live-fire drill

Defense ministry: South Korea starts live-fire drill

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- South Korea's planned live-fire military exercises started Monday afternoon, the country's defense ministry said, as fighter jets took to the sky in preparation for possible retaliation by North Korea.

North Korea has said the drill could ignite a war and that it would respond. But the country also agreed to a series of actions after former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson urged the North not to respond aggressively.

Soon after the drill began, South Korea launched fighter jets over its airspace in case the North launched an attack, the defense ministry said. It was not immediately clear how many fighter jets were in the air.

The ministry said drills typically last about two hours. The military exercises are taking place in waters just south of Yeonpyeong Island, where a North Korean shelling on November 23 killed two South Korean marines and two civilians.

The North has accused the South of provoking the attack because shells from a South Korean military drill landed in the North's waters.

On Sunday, South Korea ordered thousands to find shelter in preparation for the drill while the United Nations' Security Council wrangled for nearly eight hours over growing tensions in the Korean peninsula before ending its emergency meeting without a unified statement.

About 8,000 residents were ordered to take cover in Yeonpyeong, Baengnyeong, Daecheong, Socheong and Udo in the hours leading up to the drill.

North Korea said over the weekend that the planned exercises were designed to violate the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 and "ignite war at any cost."

Saying the exercises would be in "the inviolable territorial waters" of North Korea, the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency warned Saturday that its forces "will deal the second and third unpredictable self-defensive blow" if the drills proceed.

North Korea did not have an immediate response to the start of the drill on Monday.

But Richardson said he urged North Korea not to take aggressive steps, said Blitzer, who is traveling with


During his five-day unofficial trip to North Korea, Richardson has been meeting with high-level officials.

In the meetings, North Korea agreed to a series of actions, including the return of U.N. inspectors and to consider Richardson's proposal for a military commission between the United States, North Korea and South Korea.

Meanwhile, China asked the two Koreas to exercise "maximum restraint," state media reported Monday.

China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Wang Min made the statement during the Security Council meeting. His comments were reported by China's state-run Xinhua news agency Monday.

Wang also reiterated China's previous call for both sides to return to the negotiating table.

China is the isolated North's sole major ally and provides it with a crucial fuel and food lifeline.

Defense ministry: South Korea ends live-fire drill - CNN.com
I think China has finally had enough..let's hope for the best!
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