Military readies live-fire drills to deter North's provocations

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's military said Friday it will "soon" hold live-ammunition artillery drills along islands near the Yellow Sea border, officials said Friday, as it pledged tougher retaliation for any future aggression by the North following a deadly artillery attack.

The South's military is also closely watching North Korea's armed forces and gearing up to cope with possible future provocations by the North, including an attack against anti-Pyongyang propaganda loudspeakers in border areas or South Korean warships patrolling the Yellow Sea.

"We plan to resume live-fire artillery drills near five islands in the Yellow Sea, including Yeonpyeong, as soon as possible," said an official at the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

"Ahead of the drills, we are checking countermeasures against North Korea's further provocations and deployed weapons to launch a counter-strike if the North provokes again during the drills."