S. Korea conducts huge artillery drill near DMZ as tensions rise
Stars and Stripes | .
published: August 19, 2016
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s military said it conducted its largest-ever artillery drill near the heavily militarized border with the North on Thursday, at a time when relations between the two countries have sharply deteriorated.
The live-fire exercise was timed for the eve of the first anniversary of an artillery exchange between the two countries after land mine explosions wounded two South Korean soldiers, military officials said. That situation was defused when the two sides reached a face-saving deal on Aug. 25, 2015.
The Ministry of Defense said Thursday’s exercise was to show its determination to retaliate against any future provocations. Some 300 artillery systems deployed by four dozen battalions began firing shells simultaneously about 5 p.m. Thursday, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He said it was a one-day drill.
Tensions have been rising on the divided peninsula this year since North Korea staged its fourth underground nuclear test in January, followed by a series of rocket and missile tests despite a fresh round of toughened sanctions.