North Korea warned South Korea that military drills near front-line islands could lead to a “full scale war,” according to The New York Times.
The warning came at the same time as South Korea allowed a private group to provide food aid to North Korea, the first such trip since the death of Kim Jong Il on Dec. 17, reported the Associated Press.
Approximately 180 tons of flour were transported across the border, mainly intended for daycare centers and elementary schools. An earlier shipment of aid this month had no civilians accompanying it, according to the AP.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin recently urged other countries to provide food aid to North Korea, according to The Los Angeles Times.
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South Korea has stopped large scale food aid to North Korea since President Lee Myung-bak took office in 2008, and the government consolidating under Kim Jong Il’s son, Kim Jong Un, has vowed to never deal with South Korea.
Commentary on a North Korean government website reportedly said, “The gunfire in the area can trigger a military clash between the two sides. It then can escalate into a full-scale war”
The latest warning from the government in Pyongyang came after South Korea conducted live-fire exercises around South Korean islands close to the North’s southwest coast, according to The Times.
Conflict flared in the same area in Nov. 2010, when a North Korean attack killed four South Koreans. Some fear that Kim Jong Un could decide to consolidate his power with military action against South Korea.
Meanwhile, Voice of America reported that the United States and South Korea are scheduled to hold military exercises in the Korean peninsula soon, the first such exercises since Kim Jong Un came to power.
One of the exercises, called “Key Resolve” is scheduled to begin on Feb. 27, and will involve 2,100 US personnel and 200,000 South Korean troops. The second exercise, called “Foal Eagle” will be a two-month long “joint tactical field exercise” involving 11,000 US forces, according to VOA.
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