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South Korea Girds for Show of Force With U.S. Ships After Attacks by North

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Nov 27, 2010

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington and four smaller warships begin exercises with South Korean vessels tomorrow in a show of force that North Korea warned will take the peninsula to the “brink of war.”

The drills, to be held in the waters west of the Korean peninsula, follow North Korea’s Nov. 23 attack on a South Korean fishing community and military base that killed four people, including two civilians. Shells shattered windows of a school and set houses ablaze on Yeonpyeong island in a disputed area about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from the North Korean mainland.

While the U.S. has called the drills “defensive in nature,” Kim Jong Il’s regime warned that any infringement of North Korea’s sovereignty would spark another attack. Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered the Cabinet yesterday to stay in Tokyo in case of “unexpected” developments.

The shelling of Yeonpyeong escalated tensions that flared after an international inquiry found that North Korea torpedoed the South Korean warship Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors. President Barack Obama, along with Kan and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak, have called on China to use its influence to temper North Korean acts of aggression, while Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has reiterated calls for stability, without ascribing any blame to North Korea.

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This article was posted: Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 5:16 am

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