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N. Korea slams S. Korea for holding artillery drill on anniversary

2015/11/24 09:05

SEOUL, Nov. 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korea slammed South Korea on Tuesday for holding a live-fire artillery drill a day earlier near the tense western sea border, calling the move "the most vicious military provocation."

   Despite the North's threat for retaliation, South Korea's military staged the drill Monday as planned in waters off a set of front-line islands in the Yellow Sea as the country marked the fifth anniversary of the North's deadly shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

North Korea's National Defense Commission (NDC) condemned Seoul for pushing ahead with the drill, warning that the South's "provocation" could adversely impact inter-Korean ties.

"This was the most vicious military provocation aimed at confrontation with the fellow countrymen in the north and a reckless saber-rattling by those who are oblivious of the defeat they suffered five years ago," an NDC spokesman said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

In what was the North's first attack on South Korean soil since the 1950-53 Korean War, the North fired scores of artillery rounds on Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010, killing four people, including two civilians.

Yeonpyeong Island is one of a cluster of islands close to the de facto inter-Korean maritime border, known as the Northern Limit Line.

The spokesman said that it is obvious how the South's confrontation will affect upcoming talks, in which both sides are to discuss various pending issues.

South and North Korea are set to hold a preparatory meeting for high-level government talks Thursday following their landmark deal on Aug. 25 to defuse military tension.

Breaking months of silence for Seoul's repeated dialogue offer, Pyongyang proposed to hold the talks with Seoul this week in the North's zone of their truce village in what could be a move to improve inter-Korean relations.