S. Korea holds navy drill near dis­puted bor­der with North

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

SEOUL—South Korea on Thurs­day kicked off a live-fire naval ex­er­cise near its dis­puted sea bor­der with North Korea—a move likely to fan al­ready el­e­vated mil­i­tary ten­sions with Py­ongyang.

The three-day ex­er­cise in the Yel­low Sea is aimed at prac­tis­ing re­sponses to sim­u­lated in­cur­sions by North Korean ves­sels and air­craft, the South’s navy said in a state­ment.

The ma­noeu­vres will in­volve 20 naval ships, in­clud­ing an Aegis de­stroyer, as well as 10 air­craft in­clud­ing anti-sub­ma­rine heli­copters.

“If the en­emy com­mits provoca­tive acts again in the Yel­low Sea, we are pre­pared to act swiftly, pre­cisely and suf­fi­ciently in or­der to turn the site of provo­ca­tion into their own tombs,” the navy state­ment said.

The two Koreas fought bloody naval bat­tles near the sea bor­der known as the North­ern Limit Line (NLL) in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

The North re­fuses to recog­nise the NLL, which was drawn uni­lat­er­ally by the US-led United Na­tions Com­mand at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

In 2010, South Korea blamed North Korea for the sink­ing of one of its war­ships near the Yel­low Sea bor­der, in which 46 sailors died.

Live-fire drills in the area in­vari­ably spark an an­gry re­ac­tion from the North.

Cross-bor­der ten­sions have been run­ning high ever since North Korea con­ducted its fourth nu­clear test in Jan­uary and a long-range rocket launch the fol­low­ing month.—APP

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