South Korea will hold live-fire exercises on Yeonpyeong Island, officials in Seoul stated on Thursday. The military drill, which will be the first such maneuver on Yeonpyeong Island since last month North Korea attack, is likely to revive tension in the region as the North warned nuclear assault in retaliation to any provocations.
It was last month that North Korean military shelled the island in the Yellow Sea, killing two South Korean soldiers and two civilians. Pyongyang and Seoul blamed each other for setting off the artillery attacks. Authorities in the North maintained that the bombardment of the island came in response to South's live-fire drills.
Local media reports suggest that the South Korean forces would be assisted by at least 20 military personnel from the U.S. forces stationed in the region. Officials maintained that the artillery guns to be used in the drill will not be aimed at the North. Seoul also claimed that the exercises, scheduled for the upcoming week, are part of their general routine.
North Korea however attacked Seoul and the US forces and blamed them of worsening the situation in the Korean peninsula.
The puppet warmongers are contemplating staging madcap naval firing exercises in 23 places of the East, West and South seas of South Korea, North's official KCNA news agency reported on Thrusday.
The puppet military authorities′ scenario for a preemptive attack on the DPRK amounts to an open military threat to it and an extremely provocative move to push the situation to the brink of a war, it added.
South Korea and the US have carried out large-scale naval exercises in the Yellow sea since the November 23 attack. China had expressed severe discontent against the drills and urged the countries to return to the six-party talks with North Korea, in an attempt to calm down the escalating tension. Seoul, Washington and Tokyo were quick to decline the proposal. North Korea, however, warned the South of merciless counter-attack.
Officials in Pyongyang also threatened to deploy nuclear weapons in the border region. Despite North Korea expressing its willingness to resume negotiations, officials in Seoul maintained that North Korea must first halt nuclear development before it could return to the table.