NKorea stages live-fire drills amid tensions

Associated Press
In this Sunday March 4, 2012 photo, North Korean journalists interview a North Korean soldier during military exercises at a military base on North Korea's southwest coast, opposite South Korea's Baengnyeong Island. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
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PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korean troops have been conducting live-fire drills near an island that was the site of a deadly artillery exchange less than two years ago. Meanwhile their government is criticizing the U.S. and South Korea for conducting their own joint military exercises.

The Associated Press was among the media allowed to watch the drills along North Korea's southwestern coast this week. The drills are close to an island, in disputed waters, where four South Koreans were killed in 2010.

Soldiers scrambled to mobilize tanks and trucks and get rockets into place. Residents of the area draped camouflage nets over their shoulders as troops fired.

The drills are taking place as U.S. and North Korean envoys prepare to meet Wednesday in Beijing to discuss a recent nuclear deal.

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