Saturday, March 26, 2011
South Korea carried out live fire naval drills Saturday in a show of strength against the North to mark a year since the sinking of one of its warships which Seoul blames on Pyongyang. Authorities warned of drills in the Yellow Sea and off the southern coast, but well south of the disputed sea border, Yonhap news agency said. It quoted a military source as saying all three of South Korea’s naval fleets would conduct exercises until Sunday, simulating attacks by North Korean submarines, ships and aircraft. A commemorative service was held at a national cemetery in the central city of Daejeon, where the 46 sailors are buried. Relatives sobbed as the names of the deceased were read out.
ROKS Cheonan (PCC-772)President Lee Myung-Bak, wearing a black suit and a black tie, laid a wreath of flowers, burned incense and bowed before the altar, on which portraits of the victims stood, surrounded by white chrysanthemums. “You gave us courage even when you are in pain,” Lee said as he consoled the mother of a dead sailor, who donated all the 100 million won ($90,000) compensation money she had received from the government to help buy weapons for the navy. Pyongyang on Saturday again denied it had anything to do with the tragedy, accusing Seoul of “framing” the North. The government’s official daily Minju Joson, said the South had been using the incident over the past year to drum up anti-Pyongyang sentiment and reject inter-Korean talks. The South accuses the communist North of torpedoing the Cheonan, a 1,200-tonne corvette, on March 26 last year near the disputed Yellow Sea border, killing 46 sailors.