North Korea says won't hit back over South Korean drills

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 20, 2010 12:35

YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea  — North Korea called South Korean artillery drills on a front-line island Monday a "reckless military provocation" but said it would not retaliate, backing away from earlier threats to strike back.

The North said after the 90-minute drills ended that it was holding its fire because Seoul had changed its firing zones.

The official Korean Central News Agency statement suggested that the North viewed Monday's drills differently from the ones that provoked it last month because South Korean shells landed farther south of the North's shores.

The North claims the waters around Yeonpyeong as its territory, and during last month's artillery exchange, the North accused the South of firing artillery into its waters; the South said it fired shells southward, not toward the North.

The North on Monday, however, kept its rhetoric heated, saying will use its powerful military to blow up South Korean and US bases.


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