Monday, February 20, 2012

Seoul holds military drills despite North Korea threat

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea conducted live-fire military drills near its disputed sea boundary with North Korea on Monday despite Pyongyang's threat to respond with a "merciless" attack - a threat it did not immediately make good on.

Analysts said North Korea was unlikely to respond with more than words because it is focusing on internal stability two months after the death of leader Kim Jong Il. North Korea is also days away from its first nuclear disarmament talks with the U.S. since Kim's death.

Washington and North Korea's neighbors are closely watching how Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il's son and successor, navigates strained ties with rival South Korea and a long-running standoff over the country's nuclear weapons programs. In another potential point of tension, U.S. forces will be conducting annual military exercises with South Korea over the next few months. Read More