South Korea US Exercise 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea — Military maneuvers planned by South
Korean troops will be delayed because of bad weather on a border island
shelled by North Korea last month, as Russia and China expressed
concerns over rising tensions on the divided peninsula.
The North warned Friday that it would strike even harder than before if
the South went ahead with its planned drills. Four people died last
month in the North's attack on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense sea
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The US supports South Korea, saying the country has a right to conduct such a military exercise. However, Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed its "extreme concern" Friday over the drills and urged South Korea to cancel it to prevent a further escalation of tensions.
On Saturday, Russia requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security
Council on North Korea, UN diplomats said, speaking on condition of
anonymity. Council members were discussing the timing of the meeting,
which is expected to be held this weekend.
China, the North's key ally, said it is firmly against any acts that
could worsen already-high tensions on the Korean peninsula. "In regard
to what could lead to worsening the situation or any escalation of acts
of sabotage of regional peace and stability, China is firmly and
unambiguously opposed," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu
said in a statement Saturday.
China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun also warned in a statement
the situation on the Korean peninsula is "extremely precarious."
The North issued a warning Saturday saying South Korea would face
"catastrophe" if it went ahead with the planned drills, the Foreign
Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Saturday that marines would go
ahead with the drills as scheduled and that the military was ready to
respond to any possible provocation.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun said the drills are defensive in nature and are not aimed at stoking regional tensions.
The artillery drills were not expected to be held over the weekend
because of bad weather and will be conducted either Monday or Tuesday, a
Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said on condition of anonymity, citing