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South Korea launches fresh round of military drills as North Korea seems to soften

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The Korea Times calls the Army and Air Force drill the “largest ever.” The exercises are conducted annually, but an Army spokesman said the drill was held on a larger scale this year. The New York Times, however, reports that a South Korean defense official denied the media reports characterizing the drill as larger than ever before, and said it was “ordinary.”

The military exercises have been planned since last year, but they come at a sensitive time. Monday, South Korea held live-fire exercises on Yeonpyeong Island, located off the western coast of the peninsula, where the maritime border between the two nations is disputed. Last month, North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong Island, killing four people, after a similar exercise by the South. The North threatened “brutal consequences beyond imagination” if the South went through with the drill, but it backed down and didn't retaliate.

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