Posted : 2014-03-31 10:05
Updated : 2014-03-31 16:31

S. Korea evacuates border island residents amid NK live-fire drill

North Korea began a live-fire drill near the tensely guarded western Monday, hours after notifying the South of its planned drills in a rare move by the communist state, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The North fired several artillery shells in waters north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in Yellow Sea starting from 12:15 p.m., the JCS said.

After several rounds of the shells fell on south of the NLL, the South Korean military shot artillery shells with K-9 self-propelled howitzers in response, it said.

The move came after the Southwestern Command of the Korean People's Army faxed South Korean Navy's Second Fleet at 8:00 a.m. to announce the fire drills in seven border regions near the western maritime border later in the day.

"North Korea demanded South Korea control its vessels in seven regions north of the NLL before it holds the live-fire drills," the JCS said. "We have banned vessels from entering the training zone for the safety of residents and sailors."

It is rare that the communist state announces a training zone that encompasses all western border regions ahead a live-fire exercise.

The South Korean military has stepped up its guard against possible clashes, looking into Pyongyang's intention behind the latest provocations.

"We consider that the North's announcement contains hostile intentions," Army Col. Wi Wong-seop, the vice defense ministry spokesman, said in a morning briefing ahead of the drills. "(North Korea) is believed to be creating a crisis situation on the Korean Peninsula by raising tensions near the western maritime border."

Seoul officials have been on high alert as some artillery shells fired by the North fell south of the NLL during a 2010 exercise.

The latest move comes as the North Korean military has been stepping up its rhetoric against annual joint drills between South Korea and the United States, firing a series of missiles and rockets in a show of force in recent weeks.

Pyongyang last week fired two mid-range ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan in the latest provocative launches, drawing condemnation from the U.N. Security Council. (Yonhap)

관련 한글 기사

靑, 北도발 긴박대응…先조치 후 NSC상임위


朴대통령에게 즉각 보고, NSC상임위 사태종료 후 개최 관측

 청와대는 31일 북한이 서해 북방한계선(NLL)을 향해 발사한 수십 발의 포탄 중 일부가 NLL 남쪽 해상으로 떨어진 것과 관련, 국가안보실을 중심으로 긴박한 대응태세에 들어갔다.

안보실은 사태가 발생하자 김장수 국가안보실장을 중심으로 국방부, 통일부 등 유관부서와 긴밀하게 협의한 것으로 알려졌다.

이에 따른 우리 군의 조치 상황은 박근혜 대통령에게 즉각 보고된 것으로 전해졌다.

안보실의 한 관계자는 연합뉴스에 '이미 필요한 조치는 (유관 부서와) 협의를 마친 상태'라고 말했다.

우리 군이 북한의 NLL 남쪽 해상 발포에 대해 대응 사격에 나서고, 공군 전투기와 해군 함정이 초계 활동을 강화한 것도 이에 따른 조치로 보인다.

안보실은 오후 1시30분 현재 북한의 도발 상황이 계속되는 점을 감안, 국가안전보장회의(NSC) 상임위의 개최보다는 실시간 상황 대응에 주력하고 있는 것으로 알려졌다.

NSC 상임위는 이번 사태가 어느 정도 마무리된 후 열릴 가능성이 큰 것으로 보인다.

한편 청와대 고위관계자들은 점심 식사 도중 언론 속보를 통해 북한의 도발 상황을 접한 뒤 청와대로 속속 돌아와 상황 전개에 촉각을 세웠다.

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