S. Korea wraps up live-fire drill in Yellow Sea

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Tension lingers on the Korean peninsula after South Korea on Monday wrapped up its live-fire artillery drill from a western border island shelled last month by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

A South Korean watches TV broadcasting Yeonpyeong Island at the port of Incheon in Gyeonggi province of South Korea on Dec. 20, 2010. [Xinhua/Park Jin Hee]

The shelling from Yeonpyeong island into waters near the disputed western sea border with the DPRK began at 2:30 p.m. local time and ended at 4:04 p.m., the defense ministry said.

The exercise reportedly involved K-9 self-propelled guns, 105mm howitzers and Vulcan cannons. South Korea also deployed an anti-missile Aegis destroyer and put fighter jets on standby in anticipation of potential counterattacks by Pyongyang, which threatened to deal "self-defense blows" if Seoul went ahead with planned drill.

The DPRK, which reportedly deployed fake artillery guns on its west coast to confuse South Korean forces, has not yet make immediately military response to the drill.

The exercise took place after Pyongyang shelled the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong on Nov. 23, killing two civilians and two marines.

Pyongyang claimed the shelling was provoked by a similar South Korean drill to fire artillery into DPRK's territorial waters.

Pyongyang never acknowledged the disputed maritime border off the west coast of the Korean peninsula, unilaterally drawn by South Korea and the U.S. at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, known as "Northern Limit Line".

Calling for firm military readiness, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that holding military exercises was a " natural thing" for a sovereign country amid tense military standoff, according to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

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