North Korea threatens to retaliate against planned South Korea exercise
North Korea threatened Friday to retaliate with force if South Korea goes ahead with a planned live-fire exercise on the island hit by North Korean artillery last month, according to Reuters."The strike will play out a more serious situation than on November 23 in terms of strength and scope of the strike," Reuters reported North Korea's official news agency, KCNA, as saying.North Korea bombarded South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island in response to a South Korean military exercise that it claims was a provocation. Four people - two marines and two civilians - were killed in the attack. Afterward, South Korea said it would respond to future North Korean attacks with airstrikes.South Korea announced this week that it will hold a live-fire drill sometime between Saturday and Tuesday on Yeonpyeong, which is located near the two countries’ disputed maritime border.Tensions have risen dramatically on the peninsula since March, when a North Korean torpedo sank a South Korean warship, killing 46 troops. South Korea and the U.S. began a series of military exercises after the sinking of the Cheonan designed to demonstrate their strength and solidarity. Last month, North Korea revealed a new uranium enrichment plant, heightening fears about its nuclear weapons program.AFP reported Friday that North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the peninsula was "fraught with the greatest danger of war in the world."North Korea's official website said that it was a matter of time before war broke out on the peninsula and a new war would involve nuclear weapons, AFP reported.U.S. officials have repeatedly pledged to support South Korea, and have said that it is a sovereign nation with the right to defend itself as it deems necessary. U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Walter Sharp said Wednesday that the U.S. and South Korea will meet future attacks with the "utmost response" available "that the laws of land warfare permit."A USFK spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment Friday night.