S. KOREA TO HOLD LIVE FIRE DRILL DESPITE NORTH WARNING

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SEOUL: South Korea said it would carry out a live fire exercise Tuesday near the disputed sea border with North Korea, despite Pyongyang’s warning of “grave consequences” if it went ahead. Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told reporters that the North had sent a faxed message on Monday, demanding the exercise involving artillery batteries on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands in the Yellow Sea be called off. The message from the North’s top military body, the National Defense Commission, threatened unspecified “grave consequences” if the drill went ahead, Kim said. The South responded that the exercise was a “legitimate military drill” that would be carried out as scheduled, and warned of “strong retaliatory strikes” to any provocation from North Korea. The drill comes as the two Koreas are seeking to negotiate the resumption of family reunions for people separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War.

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AFP

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