South Korea Begins Artillery Drills Despite North's Warnings
North Korea says the firing drills could 'ignite a war'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2010 7:02 AM CST
South Korean Marines patrol on the Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010.   (AP Photo/Newsis)
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(Newser) – South Korea began artillery drills today, despite warnings from the North that such a move could ignite war. The naval live-fire drills come less than two weeks after the North’s attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. A South Korean official says the drills, which are happening along the coast and are expected to last a week, would not be staged near that island. According to local reports, a security commission is also recommending that South Korea increase marine forces on its outlying islands from 5,000 to 12,000.

Through its official news agency, North Korea said Seoul was “set to orchestrate the second Yeonpyeong Island incident at any cost and ignite a war,” the New York Times reports. The North says the initial attack was provoked by a previous drill, in which the South allegedly sent shells into the North’s waters. South Korea denies doing so and calls the attack unprovoked. As President Obama spoke to Chinese President Hu Jintao today about the situation, diplomats from South Korea and Japan are also scheduled to meet in Washington to discuss it. Click for more on the tension between North and South Korea.