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Drill on Yeonpyeong Island conducted without hitch

Posted December. 21, 2010 10:11,   


A maritime firing drill by a South Korean Marines unit on Yeonpyeong Island was conducted Monday for 94 minutes from 2:30 p.m. Despite its repeated threat of “a second and third strike,” North Korea failed to act on its threat to retaliate.

An official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said, “The firing drill by the Marines’ Yeonpyeong unit, which ended at 4:04 p.m. Monday, was conducted to conclude an exercise that had been suspended (due to North Korea’s shelling of Yeonpyeong) on Nov. 23, and the unit consumed all shells left unused at that time.”

“Our military will continue to step up defensive readiness to defend northwestern islands in the Yellow Sea and protect the country’s terrestrial sovereignty.”

The drill involved K-9 self-propelled artillery guns, 105-millimeter towed guns, 81-millimeter trench motors, and Vulcan guns of the Marines.

A military source said, “The number of shells used in the 94-minute drill was in the thousands, and we understand that more than 130 shells of the K-9 self-propelled guns were fired,” adding, “Despite light sea fog, there was no problem firing artillery guns.”

All the shells fell onto the maritime firing zone measuring 40 kilometers wide and 20 kilometers across southwest of Yeonpyeong, which is 10 kilometers south of the Northern Limit Line.

The North Korean military took no unusual action while the drill was conducted. It simply moved forward multi-rocket launchers and coastline artillery guns north of South Korea’s five islands in the Yellow Sea and put fighter jets on standby, thus merely stepping up its defensive alertness.

To guard against strikes by South Korea on its gun firing nests, the North reportedly deployed mock guns similar to 120- and 240-millimeter multi-rocket launchers in areas in north of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong islands in the Yellow Sea.

Nine representatives of the U.N. Command’s Military Armistice Commission and the command’s member states inspected the drill on Yeonpyeong. More than 20 troops from the U.S. Forces (South) Korea also provided communication and medical assistance in the drill.

To counter the threat of additional aggression by the North, U.S. troops will stay on Yeonpyeong for the time being.

Given the potential of an additional attack by Pyongyang, Seoul maintained its alert level of “Watch Con” at Level 2 and kept its defense alert at the highest level.

Prior to the drill, the South ordered some 280 civilians on Yeonpyeong including residents, staff at administrative offices and public agencies, and firefighters to go to shelters.

After being briefed on the drill by his chief of staff Yim Tae-hee, President Lee Myung-bak was quoted as saying, “It is very natural for a sovereign country divided in two and engaged in a military standoff to conduct drills to help defend its national territory,” adding, “None can interfere with this.”

“I would like the military to be thoroughly prepared to counter North Korea’s aggression even after the drill.”