The Korea Herald


N.K. prepares for massive military drill

By 이종민

Published : July 26, 2011 - 19:47

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North Korean soldiers are gathering for a massive military drill involving land, sea and air forces on its western coast, according to a government source on Tuesday.

“We noted preparations for a military exercise from the North’s naval base in Nampo and its aerial base in Onchon in South Pyongan Province,” the source said.

“Warships and fighters have been assembled there, and although it depends on the weather, we believe they’re setting up for a landing exercise sometime after Wednesday, which is also the 58-year anniversary of the armistice agreement,” he said.

It has been determined that the North Korean People’s Army has put some 20 ships including amphibious landing craft, hovercrafts and battle ships on standby near its Nampo base.

The military also deployed a MiG-21 fighter jet to the Onchon base, from Wonsan, Gangwon Province.

“North Korean forces do carry out summer exercises, but it’d be unusual for them to have one around the armistice anniversary,” the source said.

“We believe this may be in response to our opening of a new command last month to better protect islands near the western sea border.”

The 5,000-strong command was established to protect the five northwestern islands after the North’s deadly attacks last year on Yeonpyeong Island and the corvette, claiming 50 civilian and military lives.

International efforts to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization have been stalled as tensions between the two Koreas spiked following the two attacks.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Monday that the North could possibly “generate another provocation,” regardless of the U.S.-North Korea talks.

“It is my view that the North Korean regime will once again attempt to provoke hostilities,” Mullen said in a meeting with foreign reporters in Washington on Monday.

“And that once again, leaders in the South will face some difficult decisions about if and how to respond.

“There’s a long history of provocations here and (belligerent) behavior,” he said.

By Robert Lee (