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(LEAD) N. Korea threatens additional attacks, accuses S. Korea of provocation

All Headlines 20:36 November 23, 2010

(ATTN: UPDATES with English text of KCNA report; ADDS details, comments throughout)
By Sam Kim

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea threatened to continue "merciless" strikes on South Korea on Tuesday after the communist state launched a deadly artillery attack across their western sea border.

In a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, the North's top military command accused the South Korean military of initiating the exchange by shooting toward its side.

"Should the South Korean puppet group dare intrude into the territorial waters of the (North) even 0.001 mm, the revolutionary armed forces of the (North) will unhesitatingly continue taking merciless military counter-actions against it," the statement said.

The statement by the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army was read in Korean on television and radio stations in North Korea.

At least two marines were killed and multiple buildings set ablaze after the North landed artillery shots on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong near their maritime border.

North Korea does not respect the border, citing the fact that it was unilaterally drawn by the United States after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce. Three bloody naval skirmishes have taken place in the area since 1999, and Seoul also blames Pyongyang for the deadly sinking of its warship there in March.

"There is in the West Sea of Korea only the maritime military demarcation line set by (North Korea)," the command said in the statement, referring to the Yellow Sea and accusing the South of firing numerous artillery shots toward it.

"It should bear in mind the solemn warning of the revolutionary armed forces of the (North) that they do not make an empty talk," it said.

South Korean military officials denied that they provoked the North or that they were conducting the Hoguk exercise, which the North called a precursor to invasion.

"The area designated for our military's firing drill was 20-30 kilometers southwest of Yeonpyeong," a military official said, asking not to be named. "It was an annual routine firing drill."

samkim@yna.co.kr
(END)

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