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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid