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Sounds of artillery fire heard on ROK island: TV

2010-11-26 15:29

SEOUL - Sounds of gunfire were heard on Yeongpyeong Island of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the Yellow Sea, Seoul's YTN television reported Friday.

The sounds of artillery fire were dim and the island was not targeted, YTN said. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) military seemed to have been engaged in a drill, Yonhap News Agency said citing a military source.

Nearly 95 percent of the residents have left the island ahead of the military drills between Seoul and Washington scheduled for Sunday as the DPRK warned of "a shower of dreadful fire" against the joint exercises.

The DPRK has an overwhelming advantage in terms of quantity of military assets at the border and, despite ROK's boasts that it has a technical edge, the ROK's presence on Tuesday proved to be no deterrent to the attack on the island of Yeonpyeong.

Three of the six K-9 long-range mobile artillery pieces on the island that was hit by dozens of 170 artillery shells were out of service.

The three remaining have ranges shorter than the 14 km or more to the DPRK's dozens of artillery bases dotting its coastline. The bases include at least two that can launch cruise missiles that can hit major centres in mainland South Korea.

The location of the five islands that lie just south of the disputed maritime sea border and of the DPRK's mainland but up to 180 km from the ROK's coast make their defence inherently difficult.

The rules of engagement call for air and navy assets to reinforce about 5,000 Marines stationed on the islands. Tens of thousands of troops -- as many as 100,000 -- are believed to be based along the DPRK's side of border.

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