South Korean Army K-9 self-propelled guns fire live rounds during military exercises in Pocheon, South Korea, on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010. (Photo credit: Park Ji-ho / AP)
The Associated Press and Reuters via MSNBC.com
Dec. 23, 2010
POCHEON, South Korea — North Korea’s minister of armed forces said on Thursday its military was prepared to wage a “holy war” against the South using its nuclear deterrent after what he called Seoul’s attempt to initiate conflict.
Minister Kim Yong Chun repeated Pyongyang’s charge that the South had been preparing to start a war by conducting live-fire drills off the west coast, speaking at a rally to mark leader Kim Jong Il’s rise to the country’s top military post 19 years ago. …
“To counter the enemy’s intentional drive to push the situation to the brink of war, our revolutionary forces are making preparations to begin a holy war at any moment necessary based on nuclear deterrent,” North Korea’s KCNA news agency quoted Kim as telling the rally in Pyongyang.
His remarks came shortly after South Korean fighter jets dropped bombs and tanks fired artillery in the South’s largest air and ground firing drills of the year. …
KCNA had said earlier that the maneuvers were “madcap” and “offensive,” describing the South Korean military as “puppet warmongers.”
“(South Korea) is trying to hide the provocative nature toward the North of the war exercises,” it said.
The South Korean drills, at training grounds in mountainous Pocheon about 20 miles from the Koreas’ heavily fortified border, signaled the country’s determination to demonstrate and hone its military strength at the risk of further escalation with North Korea. …
Related reports on this site
Escalation of Conflict in Korea (Dec. 20, 2010)
North Korea Threatens ‘Sacred War’ (July 23, 2010)
Kim Jong Il Threat Assessment (May 31, 2009)
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — December 23, 2009
One year ago today, I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Marine Pfc. Serge Kropov, 21, Hawley, Pa., died Dec. 20, 2009 as a result of a non-hostile incident in in Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
Kropov’s friends described the Marine helicopter mechanic as a good-hearted, fun-loving guy who enjoyed basketball and trick bike riding. He was a native of Moscow who immigrated to the U.S. with his parents, Igor and Allison Alevtina. He is also survived by a sister, Anna.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — December 23, 2008
Amanda Henderson holds a portrait of her late husband, Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Henderson, at her home in Henderson, Texas. (Photo credit: Herb Nygren, Jr. / AP)
Two years ago today, on Dec. 23, 2008 I reported that the Army had begun an investigation after being prodded by Amanda Henderson, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Henderson, an Iraq combat veteran who spent the final months of his life as an Army recruiter before hanging himself with a dog chain in his backyard shed. In all, 15 of the Army’s 8,400 recruiters committed suicide between 2003 when the Iraq war began, and 2008, with more than 540 of the Army’s half-million active-duty soldiers killing themselves.
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