The opposition party on Monday demanded in immediate halt to the firing drill on a border island shelled by North Korea last month, calling it an unwise move in dealing with a reckless state like the North.
South Korea's military went ahead with artillery drills on Yeonpyeong Island despite threats of retaliation by Pyongyang. The North had used a similar drill last month as an excuse to shell the border island, killing four people, including two civilians.
The ruling Grand National Party (GNP) fully backed the drill, calling it South Korea's divine right as a sovereign state.
"This exercise is a routine and legitimate one ... that we have regularly held for decades," said Ahn Sang-soo, chairman of the GNP, adding the North will be sternly punished if it attacks the South again.
The main opposition Democratic Party, while acknowledging that it was Seoul's sovereign right to conduct the exercise, demanded that it be aborted.
"It is not a wise behavior to engage in a war or pride with an abnormal state," said the party's chairman Sohn Hak-kyu. "North Korea is not a normal nation. We should not expect a rational judgment by the North."
Sohn, warning Pyongyang at the same time, said, "We can never pardon the North's armed provocations with the excuse of the South's firing drill and warn that this is a silly behavior for the survival of North Korea and its regime's stability." (Yonhap News)