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South Korea begins drills despite North Korea's threat
Updated 2/20/2012 12:27 PM ET
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Monday began live-fire military drills from front-line islands near its disputed sea border with North Korea, despite Pyongyang's threat to attack.

The drills, scheduled to last two hours, happened in an area that was the target of a North Korean artillery attack in 2010 that killed four South Koreans.

South Korean military officials reported no immediate action by North Korea.

STORY: North Korea threatens South Korea over drills

Residents on those front-line islands were asked to go to underground shelters before the drills started, according to an officer at Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department rules.

Soon after Seoul informed Pyongyang of the training plan Sunday, North Korea's military called the drills a "premeditated military provocation" and warned the South it would retaliate for an attack on its territory. A North Korean officer warned in an interview with the Associated Press in Pyongyang that North Koreans were always ready to "dedicate their blood to defend their inviolable territory."

The drills come two months after the death of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il His son Kim Jong Un has taken the helm of the nation of 24 million.

The peninsula remains in a technical state of war since the three-year Korean War ended in a truce in 1953.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Posted 2/19/2012 8:33 PM ET
Updated 2/20/2012 12:27 PM ET