News / Asia

South Korea Stages Air Raid Drill

A South Korean government official controls traffic as part of a civil defense drill in Seoul, 15 Dec 2010
A South Korean government official controls traffic as part of a civil defense drill in Seoul, 15 Dec 2010

South Korea has staged its largest-ever air raid drill. The 15-minute nationwide exercise took place Wednesday afternoon, amid a period of heightened tensions with North Korea.

An air raid siren sounding near Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, that was the signal, along with a notification aired nationwide by radio stations, for the 48 million people of South Korea to stop whatever they were doing.

As a dozen fighter jets shrieked overhead to simulate a North Korean bombing and artillery attack, motorists halted in traffic and pedestrians were ordered to take cover, either in the freezing outdoors or to head into nearby designated shelters.

Those who did not immediately comply were confronted by civil defense wardens. Some of the passersby grumbled, but eventually obeyed.

A motorist, who would only identify himself as Kim, sitting in his car in the middle of a major avenue, complained he was in a hurry and had tried to avoid getting caught in traffic during the drill.

"I don't want to meet this situation in the street. [In the] office is OK," he said. "On the street, I cannot go, driving, right?"



Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, speaking on the radio during the national time out, said the air raid drill is meant to prepare citizens to effectively respond to a situation similar to the November 23rd artillery attack by North Korea on Yeonpyeong island.

The prime minister says he hopes the exercise is a valuable opportunity for citizens to grasp the reality of the country's national security situation.

At a Seoul hotel, U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens acknowledged she was rushing through a luncheon speech to the American Chamber of Commerce so the audience would not be caught outside during the air raid drill.

The ambassador says the United States and South Korea are working very closely, through military and diplomatic channels, to develop countermeasures to North Korea's belligerency. But she says it is China, which has the most significant role to play.

"It is critically important that China continue to play a strong role in making clear to North Korea that there are consequences for its actions," said Stephens.  "We hope that China will work with us to send a clear, unmistakable message to North Korea that they have to demonstrate a seriousness of purpose and end their provocative actions."

Two South Korean marines and two civilians died in the North's shelling last month of Yeonpyeong.  It was the first attack on a civilian-populated area here since 1953, when the Korean civil war was halted.

The two Korea's technically remain at war.  Pyongyang has warned that continuing artillery exercises by Seoul and its joint military drills with the United States are bringing the peninsula closer to war.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid