Top news: North Korea has warned the South against conducting live-fire artillery drills on the frontline island that the North bombed last month, saying it would retaliate with an even greater strike. South Korea says it will go ahead with the one-day drill sometime between Saturday and Tuesday.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's government faced widespread criticism for what was seen as a timid response to last month's attack which killed two soldiers and two construction workers, the North's first attack on a civilian area since the end of the Korean war. He has since replaced his defense minister and vowed to retaliate to future attacks with airstrikes on North Korea.
While the U.S. State Department has called the drill "appropriate," Gen. Games Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed concern.
"What we worry about, obviously, is if that is misunderstood or if it's taken advantage of as an opportunity... If North Korea were to react to that in a negative way and fire back at those firing positions on the islands, that would start potentially a chain reaction of firing and counter-firing, he said."
Meanwhile, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who has negotiated with Pyongyang on several previous occasions, is in North Korea for talks aimed at defusing the crisis.
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