South Korea, North Korea exchange cross-border fire amid tensions
Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 01:23
March 31 - South and North Korea exchange cross-border fire amid rising tensions over military exercises and threatened nuclear tests. Paul Chapman reports
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This amphibious landing exercise is the largest marine drill South Korea and the U.S. have ever jointly held.
Operation Foal Eagle takes place annually.
North Korea's condemned this year's event as a threatening military drill and said it would conduct its own firing exercise.
U.S. Commanding General Paul Kennedy insists the exercises aren't politically motivated.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. COMMANDING GENERAL PAUL KENNEDY SAYING:
"This exercise was not designed to react to any political situation. It's not designed to send a message. This is something that we have to do to be able to inter-operate with our allies."
On Monday South Korea's Defence Ministry said the North had fired more than 500 artillery rounds, some of which landed in its waters.
The South said its troops fired back.
(SOUNDBITE)(Korean) SOUTH KOREAN DEFENCE MINISTER SPOKESMAN KIM MIN-SEOK SAYING:
"Our military fired back about 300 rounds of artillery with K-9 self-propelled Howitzers. We and the United States are working together to closely monitor movement by the North Korean army."
The North has stepped up its rhetoric in recent weeks and conducted a series of mostly short-range missile launches in response to the joint drills.
U.N. condemnation of the launches was greeted on Sunday by a threat from Pyongyang to carry out what it called a new form of nuclear test.
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