The Republic of Korea (RoK) began large-scale live-fire drills near the border with Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on March 24.

According to the RoK Defence Ministry, the drills took place in Pocheon, about 30km south of the inter-Korean border, with the involvement of tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery, helicopters and fighter jets.
Earlier on March 23, the RoK Government said the army was conducting week-long naval exercises from March 21 on the occasion of one year of the Cheonan warship sinking.

The inter-Korean ties were tense after the Cheonan warship sinking was blamed on the DPRK. However, Pyongyang rejected all accusations relating to the case.

In another vein, the two Koreas on March 24 agreed to the venue and time for a meeting to discuss volcanic activities at Mount Baekdu .

According to the RoK Unification Ministry, both sides’ experts will meet on March 29 in the RoK border city of Munsan .

Standing at 2,774m, Mt Baekdu is the highest mountain on the peninsula and considered a sacred symbol of ancestry by both sides. The volcano last erupted in 1903.

The two Korean sides agreed to conduct joint research on the volcano in 2007, but are yet to promote any detailed activities./.