South Korea Announces, Then Cancels New Military Drill
South Korea's military has postponed a live fire exercise planned for Tuesday on an island shelled by North Korea last week.
South Korean forces on Yeonpyeong island initially alerted residents Monday by loudspeaker to shelter in bunkers for a live fire exercise to be held the next day.
But hours later, another broadcast on the island said the drill had been delayed. The South Korean military said the initial announcement by troops on the island was a mistake.
Yeonpyeong is located near the disputed western maritime border of the two Koreas and is surrounded by waters the North claims as its own. North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong last Tuesday in response to a South Korean exercise involving artillery fire from the island into the disputed waters.
The North Korean attack killed two South Korean Marines and two civilians, and drew return artillery fire from South Korean forces. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak warned Pyongyang Monday that it will "pay a dear price" if it attacks again.
His government has boosted its military presence on Yeonpyeong by deploying additional artillery guns and rocket launchers.
U.S. and South Korean naval forces also held a second day of exercises Monday in nearby waters in the Yellow Sea in a show of strength to deter North Korean attacks.
In a nationally televised address Monday, Mr. Lee said North Korean shells that hit the island Tuesday landed a few meters from a school that was holding classes. He expressed outrage at what he called the "ruthlessness" of a North Korean leadership that he said is indifferent to the lives of children.
China has responded to the crisis by calling for emergency talks involving the six nations trying to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear program.
South Korea, Japan and the United States promised to study the Chinese proposal, but expressed reluctance to engage in talks that would reward North Korea for bad behavior, as they see it.
Article by VOA News