News / Asia

S. Korea Ignores Threat from Pyongyang to Retaliate for Artillery Drill

South Korean navy sailors in a speed boat patrol around South Korea's western Yeonpyong Island after finishing their exercise, near the disputed sea border with North Korea, February 20, 2012.
South Korean navy sailors in a speed boat patrol around South Korea's western Yeonpyong Island after finishing their exercise, near the disputed sea border with North Korea, February 20, 2012.

South Korea went ahead with an artillery drill Monday near a disputed maritime border despite an unusually explicit threat by North Korea to retaliate by shelling inhabited islands in the Yellow Sea.

Officials in Seoul say the morning exercise was routine and included the firing of self-propelled howitzers and mortars. Attack helicopters also joined the exercise on the western frontier islands.

A spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says no shots were fired towards the Northern Limit Line, which is the disputed maritime border.

Pyongyang Warns Seoul

North Korea, the previous day, warned inhabitants of the five islands to evacuate to avoid its possible retaliatory shelling.

And in a message, carried by state radio and the official news agency just hours before the South Korean exercise commenced, Pyongyang termed the drill “a clear declaration of war” against the North.

The North Korean announcer says if South Korea fires recklessly, then it “will not escape punishment thousands-fold more severe than the shelling of Yeonpyeong island.”

North Korea, on November 23, 2010, in response to a South Korean military exercise, bombarded the island, killing four people.

South Korean officials say residents of the five front-line islands were advised to take shelter in safe zones before its forces began the shelling exercise. The officials also say no reaction has been observed from the North's military, and there are no signs of any extraordinary troop movements.

US to Join South Korean Exercises

South Korea and the United States this week are also holding an anti-submarine drill in the Yellow Sea.

Beginning next Monday, they are to commence the first of two annual large-scale war games involving thousands of soldiers from both of their militaries.

Western intelligence analysts say the recent change of leadership in Pyongyang makes it difficult to assess the seriousness of the latest North Korean threat. They say that is because of a lack of a track record for the new leader, Kim Jong Un, compared to his late father, Kim Jong Il. They also note there is scant intelligence about the leadership dynamics in Pyongyang since the elder Kim's death in December.

Professor Kim Yeon-su, a specialist on North Korea at South Korea's National Defense University, says he is not overly concerned about the latest warnings from Pyongyang. He points out they are not being issued by the highest entities in the North so they should not be exaggerated as a major threat to the South.

The professor says their timing is likely tied to the talks in Beijing later this week between the United States and North Korea.

U.S. officials say those discussions are to gauge Pyongyang's sincerity about its expressed desire to return to six-nation talks on its nuclear programs.

Those talks, involving both Koreas, China, the United States, Japan and Russia, have not been able to resume since 2008, when Pyongyang pulled out.

The two Koreas have no diplomatic relations and no peace treaty. A 1953 armistice implemented a truce following a devastating three-year civil war.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs