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South Korea goes on alert as UN talks fail

YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea - Residents of front-line islands were ordered into bomb shelters as South Korea insisted on pressing forward with live-fire drills near disputed waters Monday despite North Korea's threat to retaliate, sharply spiking tensions.

During a dense fog, however, a military official said that the artillery exercises might be delayed until Tuesday.

UN diplomats meeting in Manhattan failed Sunday to find any solution to ease fears of a new war on the Korean peninsula, nearly a month after the North shelled Yeonpyeong in retaliation for earlier artillery exercises there.

South Korea's move to launch new drills from Yeonpyeong brought tensions to their highest point since the North's Nov. 23 bombardment, which killed two South Korean marines and two civilians.

Yeonpyeong residents slowly filed into an underground shelter Monday after authorities announced the drill and huddled on the floor as a South Korean soldier showed them how to use a gas mask, according to footage shot by Associated Press Television News.

At the UN, Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council along with the United States, Britain and France, wanted a statement to urge calm and appoint an envoy, but most council members viewed that as unfairly equating the actions of the two Koreas, a diplomat said, and no agreement was reached. - AP

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