N. Korean Troops Conduct Live-Fire Maneuvers Near Disputed Boundary

Posted March 6th, 2012 at 8:55 am (UTC-5)
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North Korea carried out live-fire military maneuvers this week near its disputed maritime boundary with South Korea, just days after lashing out at the United States for conducting military exercises with South Korea.

The North Korean drills, witnessed by the Associated Press, took place Sunday and Monday on the North's southwestern coast, which faces disputed waters where the two Koreas have fought three deadly battles since 1999.

AP video showed Colonel-General Pyon In Son vowing revenge against South Korea and its leader, Lee Myung-bak.

“Now the hearts of the officers and servicemen of our corps are burning with hatred and revenge against Lee Myung-bak's treacherous group.”

Maneuvers on both sides of the boundary separating North and South come as U.S. and North Korean envoys prepare to meet Wednesday in Beijing to discuss distribution details for 240,000 metric tons of emergency food relief promised to Pyongyang by the United States.

In a deal announced last week, North Korea announced a moratorium on its controversial nuclear program and agreed to allow international nuclear inspectors into the country for the first time in more than two years to observe the freeze.

In announcing the deal, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a U.S. Congressional committee that Pyongyang also promised to allow inspectors to confirm that the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon had been disabled.

Aid agencies say the impoverished North's food situation is the worst in several years, with torrential rains and harsh winter weather early this year damaging harvests and prompting international appeals from Pyongyang for help.