"The North used to provoke the South whenever there was a change of government in the South," the ministry's spokesman, Kim Min-seok, said in a press briefing at the ministry in Seoul.
Kim recalled that the North launched its Taepodong 1 missile in February 1998 around the inauguration of former President Kim Dae-jung. The Yeonpyeong sea battle occurred about a year later.
He also noted that in February 2008 around the inauguration of former President Lee Myung-bak, the North launched a long-range missile. The North carried out its second nuclear test in May 2009 and the Daecheong sea battle occurred six months later.
The spokesman said North Korea may kick off a nationwide military drill in early March, around the time when joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises are underway. The Key Resolve drills involving 10,000 South Korean and 3,500 U.S. troops will be held from March 11 through March 21. The two countries also plan to hold the joint Foal Eagle exercises from March 1 through April 30.
He said that in an unusual move, North Korea conducted intensive military exercises during the winter months, including artillery and special forces exercises and ground attack drills by its air force.
A nationwide military drill involves special forces units, in addition to the army, navy and air force, ministry officials said.
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