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South Korea builds up its island army

South Korea has started building up its military defences after North Korea’s artillery bombardment killed four people this week.

Sombre: Maritime policemen carry the coffins of people killed by North Korea’s bombardment (Picture: Reuters)

Hundreds more ground troops will now join the 4,000 soldiers already spread across Yeonpyeong and four other islands off the coast of North Korea.

Pyongyang is warning there will be more attacks if the South engages in ‘reckless military provocations again’.

The barrage was sparked after Seoul refused to halt its planned military training in the Yellow Sea.

However, maritime manoeuvres involving a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will begin again on Sunday when US troops join the scheduled drill.

Meanwhile, the South’s defence minister Lee Myung-bak resigned yesterday after being accused of being unprepared for the assault. Hours before he quit he visited Yeonpyeong which is home to 1,300 civilians. Two marines and two civilians were killed in Tuesday’s shelling, and at least 18 people, most of them troops, were wounded.

Restaurant owner Lee In-ku, 46, joined villagers trying to salvage belongings from destroyed homes yesterday. ‘It was a sea of fire,’ he said. ‘Many houses were burning and many people were just running around in confusion. It was real chaos.’

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