S Korea stages major live-fire drill

Members of South Korean maritime police and Navy's Underwater Demolition Team take part in a defence drill at a set of remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, east of Seoul October 25, 2013. Japan lodged a protest on Friday after South Korea's military and coast guard conducted an "unacceptable" defence drill on disputed islands, the latest flare-up in tension between the two Asian neighbours.

SEOUL - South Korea on Monday deployed destroyers, jet fighters, attack helicopters and rocket launchers in a major live-fire drill against the threat of North Korea landing troops, the defence ministry said.

"The joint live-fire drill was aimed at repelling landings by enemy forces along the east coast," a ministry spokesman told AFP.

South Korea has carried out a series of recent military exercises -- both alone and jointly with allied nations -- sparking angry condemnations from the North and threats of counter-attacks that have not materialised.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang threatened "all out war" following a two-day drill involving a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier alongside South Korean and Japanese vessels began off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been blowing hot and cold for months.

They soared at the beginning of the year after the North's third nuclear test in February, but then appeared to enter a rapprochement stage that saw the two rivals agree to reopen their joint industrial park in Kaesong.

The mood quickly soured again when Pyongyang cancelled a scheduled reunion last month for family members separated by the Korean War.