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S. Korea conducts live-fire drill on Yeonpyeong Island

   South Korea's military conducted a live-fire artillery 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 firing exercise was started by marines on Yeonpyeong Island, near the tense Yellow Sea border with North Korea, at around 9:30 a.m. and was scheduled to last for about three hours, said Col. Lee Bung-woo, a spokesman at the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

   Another firing drill took place on Baengnyeong Island, the closest island to the sea border, on the same day, Lee said.

   "These exercises are being staged as part of our military's routine drills," Lee said, adding the South's military has not detected any unusual military movements by the North's armed forces.

   Air Force fighter jets were on standby in the air in case of any contingency, Lee said.

   "We will continue to conduct live-fire drills on border islands on a regular basis to bolster military capabilities there," he added.

   As always, JCS officials said, the artillery guns on the islands were aimed south, away from North Korea.

   K-9 self-propelled howitzers, 81-millimeter mortar guns and Vulcan guns were 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."

<한글뉴스>

軍, 오늘 백령도.연평도서 사격훈련

올해 들어 처음 실시.."정기훈련 일환"

    (서울=연합뉴스) 유현민 기자 = 해병대사령부는 30일 오전 백령도와 연평도에서 해상 사격훈련을 실시한다고 밝혔다.

    해병대 관계자는 이날 "오늘 훈련에서는 백령도 서남쪽과 연평도 동남쪽의 우리 해상으로 사격이 실시될 것"이라며 "오늘 훈련은 정기적으로 실시해 온 통상적 훈련 의 일환"이라고 말했다.

    지난해 12월 연평도 사격훈련 이후 올해 들어 처음 실시하는 이번 훈련은 K-9 자주포와 벌컨포, 81㎜ 박격포 등 105㎜ 견인포를 제외한 모든 편제화기가 동원돼 이날 오전 9시30분부터 1시간 가량 진행될 것으로 알려졌다.

    군은 지난해 12월 20일 연평도에서 K-9 자주포를 비롯해 105㎜ 견인포, 81㎜ 박 격포 등을 동원해 연평도 서남방 가로 40㎞, 세로 20㎞의 해상사격구역으로  30여분 간 사격훈련을 실시했었다.

    합참 관계자는 "군은 북한의 도발에 대비해 만반의 대비태세를 갖추고 훈련에 임할 것"이라며 "현재까지 북한의 특이동향은 포착된 게 없다"고 말했다.

    군은 앞으로도 서북도서 지역의 군사대비 태세를 유지하기 위한 정기적인  해상 사격훈련을 지속적으로 실시할 방침이다.

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