North Korea holds live-fire drill on maritime border

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North Korea held a live-fire drill near its maritime border with South Korea on Tuesday, with Seoul vowing a “strong” response if any shells fall on its side of the disputed boundary.
It is the second time in a month that Pyongyang has carried out such exercises.
South Korea\’s defence ministry said it was notified early on Tuesday that drills would take place near two islands west of the Korean peninsula.
A South Korean spokesman said its military was "fully prepared".
"The North notified us there would be live-fire drills today north of the [border] near Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong islands," a defence ministry spokesman told AFP news agency.
Firing began around 14:00 (05:00GMT), Reuters news agency quoted a military official as saying, and so far, no rounds had fallen south of the border.
That was the trigger last month for the South Koreans to return fire.
Reuters quoted a South Korean military official as saying no North Korean shells appear to have fallen so far in South Korean territory.
The North held similar drills last month. Some of the artillery landed in the South\’s waters, prompting Seoul to fire back across the boundary. 
Such drills are not unusual, but typically further strain relations between the two long-time rivals, which are still technically at war.
Tensions are already higher than usual following warnings that Pyongyang may be preparing to conduct a fourth nuclear test.
During a visit to Seoul last week, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that another test would only further isolate the North. 
North Korea has conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, and 2013 in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
This latest move from North Korea comes as satellite images suggest Pyongyang could be preparing to carry out a nuclear test.
South Korea\’s military said it had recently detected "a lot of activity" at the North\’s Punggye-ri test site.
UN Security Council resolution 1718, passed in October 2006 after the first nuclear test, bans North Korea from nuclear and missile tests.
Source: Agencies

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