S. Korean president convenes National Security Council meeting

15:45, December 21, 2010      

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South Korean President Lee Myung-bak convened a National Security Council meeting Tuesday, a day after the country conducted a live-fire drill despite warnings from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The meeting, the fifth of its kind since Lee took office, brought together key Cabinet ministers including Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, to assess the country's security situations and defense posture amid the tense military standoff with the DPRK.

The security meeting, convened at 11:40 a.m. local time at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, was aimed to discuss ways to bolster the role of the office's crisis management center, according to local media reports.

Lee last held the security meeting after the fatal sinking of a South Korean warship in March, blamed by Pyongyang's torpedo attack. Pyongyang denies any involvement in the incident.

On Monday, South Korea staged what officials here said a routine firing drill in waters near the disputed western border island of Yeonpyeong, which Pyongyang shelled on Nov. 23, killing two civilians and two marines.

The drill came as Pyongyang, which claims the Nov. 23 shelling was for "self-defense" against Seoul and Washington, who were then engaged in annual naval exercises near a disputed border, repeatedly warned of retaliation if Seoul went ahead with the planned drill.

The DPRK did not immediately respond to the brief one-day drill, and later said it was not "worth reacting to" what it called " reckless provocations."

South Korea remains on alert against potential retaliation from Pyongyang, and has deployed an Aegis destroyer and put fighter jets on standby.

Source: Xinhua

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