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South Korea practice drills enter third day

Firefighters put out a fire during an anti-terrorism drill held at Incheon airport
Firefighters put out a fire during an anti-terrorism drill held at Incheon airport Reuters

US and South Korean forces practised attacks on potential seaborne North Korean infiltrators on Tuesday as part of a four-day naval exercise designed to deter the communist state. The allies are staging the war simulations in response to what they say was a deadly North Korean submarine attack on a South Korean warship.

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About 20 ships including the 97,000-ton carrier USS George Washington, 200 aircraft including four F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, and 8,000 personnel are taking part in the largest joint exercise for years.

Seoul and Washington say the four-day exercise, which began Sunday in international waters 200 km south of North Korean Waters, is designed to stress that future attacks from the North will meet with a decisive response.

The joint forces plan separate anti-ship and anti-aircraft drills, while jet fighters are to launch missiles at sea and at firing ranges on land.

The North however still denies responsibility for the attack on the Cheonan warship in March which killed 46 people, and says the exercises are a rehearsal for war.

"If the US and its puppets ignite a fire in waters around the Korean peninsula, it will spread to all northeast Asia as well as the whole peninsula and eventually develop into a world war," said a spokesman for an official body called the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

The practice drills in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) conclude on Wednesday.

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