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S. Korea to hold live-fire drill on Yeonpyeong Island
SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's military will hold a live-fire drill on Wednesday on a border island shelled by North Korea last November, officials said, the second firing drill since the North's bombardment that inflamed tensions.

   The hour-long firing exercise by several artillery units was set for Wednesday morning on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense Yellow Sea border with North Korea, an official at the Marine Corps said, adding another firing drill will take place the same day on Baengnyeong Island, the closest island to the sea border.

   "Today, the Marine Corps will hold the naval firing drills on Yeonpyeong Island and Baengnyeong Island as part of routine training," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

   As always, the official said, the artillery guns on the islands will be aimed south, away from North Korea.

   K-9 self-propelled howitzers, 81-millimeter mortar guns and Vulcan guns will be mobilized for the drills, according to the official.

   Four South Koreans -- two marines and two civilians -- were killed in the North's Nov. 23 shelling on Yeonpyeong Island.

   Pyongyang claims its artillery strike on Yeonpyeong was in self-defense because it was provoked by Seoul's live-fire drill near the island. Seoul said the drill was part of routine training and no shells landed in the North's territory, accusing Pyongyang of a premeditated attack.

   The South's military held a live-fire drill on Yeonpyeong on Dec. 20 amid the North's pledge of retaliation. Later in the day, the North said it would not retaliate over the drill, saying it was "not worth reacting."

   kdh@yna.co.kr
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