Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

S.Korean soldiers on guard to protect Christmas tree
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Dec 21, 2010

South Korean marines were on guard Tuesday to protect a Christmas tree, the latest focus of tensions with North Korea following Seoul's artillery drill near the disputed sea border a day earlier.

A South Korean church switched on Christmas lights in the shape of a tree atop a military-controlled hill near the tense land border -- the first such display for seven years.

"This is purely for religious purposes," pastor Koh Young-Yong told AFP, adding the ceremony drew about 300 church members.

The event came a day after South Korea staged a live-fire exercise on the border island of Yeonpyeong, which was bombarded by North Korea last month.

The North forswore retaliation despite previously vowing a deadly response to the South's drill. But officials were concerned the Christmas tree could become a target for attack.

When asked by lawmakers if South Korea would fire back in case of a North Korean attack on the Christmas tree, Defence Minister Kim Kwan-Jin replied: "We are ready to retaliate resolutely so that the source of gunfire will be removed."

A defence ministry spokesman said: "Marines are maintaining the highest level of alertness around the hill," citing the North's continued threats to strike border propaganda facilities.

The 155-metre (511-foot) hill, about three kilometres (two miles) from the border, is within range of North Korean gunfire.

The two Koreas in 2004 reached a deal to halt official-level cross-border propaganda and the South stopped its annual Christmas tree illumination ceremony.

The communist North had accused the South of displaying Christmas lights to spread religion among its people and soldiers. The North's constitution provides for religious freedom, but the US State Department says this does not in practice exist.

The South has partially resumed a cross-border government propaganda campaign following the March sinking of a South Korean warship and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong, which killed four people including two civilians.

Soon after last month's artillery attack, the South's military reportedly floated 400,000 leaflets across the border denouncing the North's regime.

The South has also installed loudspeakers along the land border but has not yet switched them on. They are designed to blast anti-regime and pro-democracy messages deep into the border region.

North Korea has threatened to open fire on the speakers if they are switched on, and also to fire at locations from where leaflets are released.

Private activist groups frequently float huge balloons across the heavily fortified frontier. These carry tens of thousands of leaflets denouncing the regime of Kim Jong-Il.


Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at
Learn about missile defense at
All about missiles at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

World needs 'deeds, not words' from N.Korea: Richardson
Beijing (AFP) Dec 21, 2010
US troubleshooter Bill Richardson said Tuesday that North Korea had moved in the "right direction" toward easing tensions with the South but now needed to back up that movement with "deeds, not words". The New Mexico governor was speaking at Beijing's main airport upon arrival from Pyongyang, where he has been since Thursday on a trip aimed at restoring calm following the North's bombardment ... read more

Total Lunar Eclipse: 'Up All Night' With NASA

Robotic Excavations Could Help Get Helium 3 From Moon To Earth

A Softer Landing on the Moon

Neptec Wins Canadian Space Agency Contract To Develop A New Generation Of Lunar Rovers

Wind And Water Have Shaped Schiaparelli On Mars

The Three Ages Of Mars

Odyssey Orbiter Nears Martian Longevity Record

Drilling For The Future Of Science

Voyager Crosses Point Of Solar Stillness

Japan's low-cost space programme pushes the limits

Virgin Galactic To Join NASA Submissions For Orbital Spaceflights

Paolo Nespoli Heads To ISS On MagISStra Mission

China Builds Theme Park In Spaceport

Tiangong Space Station Plans Progessing

China-Made Satellite Keeps Remote Areas In Venezuela Connected

Optis Software To Optimize Chinese Satellite Design

New ISS Crew Members Set For Friday Arrival

New crew members dock with space station

ISS Tracks Months-Long Voyages Of Ships At Sea

Busy Day For ISS Commander

Arianespace To Launch ESA's First Sentinel Satellite

The Flight Of The Dragon

SpaceX Dragon Does Two Orbits Before Pacific Splashdown

NASA, SpaceX giddy over historic orbit launch

Citizen Scientists Join Search For Earth-Like Planets

Qatar-Led International Team Finds Its First Alien World

Planetary Family Portrait Reveals Another Exoplanet

New Pictures Show Fourth Planet In Giant Version Of Our Solar System

Berkeley Researchers Discover Mobius Symmetry In Metamaterials

Goodrich Begins Environmental Test Of ORS-1 Satellite

Japan telecom firm KDDI to start e-book distribution

New Google TV sets facing delays: reports

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement