South Korea holds drill, North lobs only insults

North Korea criticised major land and sea military exercises staged by the South on Thursday, but stopped short of threatening a retaliatory strike as tension remained high on the divided peninsula.

In a show of military might, South Korea held a major land drill in the Pocheon region, between Seoul and the heavily armed demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas. It also continued naval live-fire exercises 100km south of the maritime border with North Korea.

In a rare visit to the frontline, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited a separate military unit near the border to inspect defensive readiness against Pyongyang.

The drill, involving a larger scale of firepower and personnel than usual for an exercise at the army training ground, is an indication that Lee wants to show the public Seoul can stand up to the North.

A large contingent of mechanised units operating tanks, three dozen self-propelled artillery, fighter jets and multiple rocket launchers, took part in the live-fire drill just kilometres from the border with the North.

The tanks charged across the valley and artillery shots echoed as helicopters hovered overhead, firing rockets at targets. Fighter jets dropped explosives into the valley, creating plumes of smoke.

Response to criticism
Lee has replaced his top defence officials with more hawkish military men, a response to criticism of a perceived weak response to hostile acts from the North, including a submarine attack in March and the shelling of an island last month.

“[South Korea] is trying to hide the provocative nature toward the North of the war exercises,” Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency said in a comment, calling the drills “madcap” and “offensive”. The South Korean Army is making no secret that the drill is aimed at displaying its firepower to its neighbour.

“We are facing a crisis because of North Korea, so I came to see this air and ground operation. I want to feel and see the level of South Korea’s armed forces,” said Kim Tae-dong, a 70-year-old internet businessman, in Pocheon.

“Another North Korean provocation will happen. We should prepare our military perfectly for that.” — Reuters

Staff Reporter
Guest Author

Hlophe complaint is an eerie echo

But the new complaint against the Western Cape judge president is also unprecedented

Mabuza contract grows by R10m

Eskom’s negotiators in a R100-million maintenance contract came back with a proposal to push up the costs

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide

Press Releases

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.