Pyongyang slams Seoul’s firing drill near sea border

Pyongyang, Nov 24 (IANS) Pyongyang on Tuesday slammed Seoul’s live-ammunition drill in northwestern islands near the sea border, calling it “reckless saber-rattling”.

The artillery firing exercises, held on the fifth anniversary of the Yeonpyeong Island incident, was the “most vicious military provocation aimed at confrontation with the fellow countrymen in the North”, Xinhua quoted a spokesman for the policy department of NOrth Korea National Defence Commission as saying.

Five years ago, North Korea bombarded the Yeonpyeong Island located near the tense western maritime border. Pyongyang said the shelling was a self-defence measure against joint naval exercises between South Korea and the US near the northern limited line.

South Korea’s armed forces on Monday conducted live-ammunition exercises for around 40 minutes from 4 p.m. (local time) with its K-9 self-propelled artillery in islands of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong.

All rounds of artillery shells fell southwest on the South Korean territorial waters, according to South Korean defence ministry.

North Korea military warned on Sunday of merciless retaliation if South Korea fires into Pyongyang waters.

North Korea spokesman also slammed South Korean authorities for holding a memorial service on the fifth anniversary of the Yeonpyeong Island incident.

“South Korean authorities clearly showed again their hostile and confrontation policy toward the North remains unchanged,” said the spokesman.

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