N.Korea Cites S.Korean Drill as Excuse for Attack

      November 24, 2010 13:24

      North Korea in a telegram on Tuesday morning criticized an annual South Korean defense drill now underway. The same afternoon the North Korean military fired on Yeonpyeong Island.

      An official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "At around 8:20 a.m. on Tuesday, North Korea sent a telegram that said they would not sit idly by and watch if South Korea fire at North Korean waters during the military training." North Korea already criticized the drill on Nov. 17 on the website of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland and again on Monday when the drill began.

      But the military dismissed North Korea's claims, saying an artillery firing drill by the Marine Corps that took place in Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday had nothing to do with the annual drill but was a part of monthly training there. Moreover, the drill the North cited as an excuse for the attack is an annual routine drill which has been conducted by the South Korean military since 1996.

      A spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "The training was directed at South Korean waters to the southwest of Yeonpyeong Island, and the training site had been announced already through the international network of communication of merchant ships."

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