South Korea says it has returned fire after claiming around 200 North Korean artillery rounds hit one of its islands.
With artillery fire between North and South Korea, there has been renewed hostilities over the disbuted border dividing Korea.
The problem is that North Korea does not recognize borders unilaterally drawn by the United Nations at the end of the Korean War. As a result, North and South Korea have had several bloody skirmishes. Other than today, the most recent incident was in November of last year.
Seoul says their country is on its highest non-wartime alert and has F16 fighter jets scrambled to the location.
Remember that, on March 26 of this year, a South Korean Naval Ship was sunk near North Korea; with 46 sailors missing? Later, we learned that North Korea was behind the sinking.
Two South Korean Marines were killed when around 60 to 70 houses were set ablaze after being hit by North Korean artillery. South Korea returned fire when rounds landed on Yeonpyeong Island near the disputed border.
President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea said he has been trying to prevent the situation from escalating into a greater conflict. However, now that they have been attacked, Seoul warned of a stronger response if the North continues with their attacks, which means we could become involved in some way because we are allies with the South.
With Kim Jong-il’s health fading, and also with it being just weeks after the announcement of his son taking over, attempts for a power grab could exist as military leaders try to take advantage of the situation. This creates a concern because no one really knows who is actually calling the shots right now in this nuclear armed nation.
According to sources at Fox News, Kim Jong-il is still in control of anything consequential that happens in North Korea. Although there’s an increase in exhibitions of military power that suggests otherwise, the son is not intimately involved but he is observing everything and learning.
It appears that North Korea is trying to get attention and show that they are not going to submit to the world; they will do whatever they want.
If this threat worsens, it could mean North Korea will put more South Korean and American lives in danger.
Click to view North Korea Attack in a larger map,
Between 1,200 and 1,300 people live on the island where TV pictures showed black and white smoke rising from the location.
Interestingly, today’s attack comes just after North Korea announced that they have a new uranium enrichment facility. Speculation on the timing of this attack and their announcement might cause one to surmise that President Kim Jong-il, is not much concerned about the U.S., Japan, China or the United Nation’s response.
Three American scientists reported that they visited North Korea earlier this month and were shown rows and rows of new centrifuges, probably about 1,000 or more. One of the scientists, when asked if the facility is operational, said “There is no reason to think it isn’t functional and ready for processing uranium”.
Many are looking to China for help in dealing with North Korea. However, the two nations may be drifting apart after their missile test. With an unstable nation on its borders, it would be in China’s best interests to do something about North Korea. Japan is in a dangerous position as well.
The predominant view on last month’s North Korea test-firing is that it has not only raised the level ofhostility between North Korea and the US, but has also cooled down the North Korea’s relations with China. North Korea did not inform China about the missile test-firing in advance. China voted for the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution on North Korea, although it took a less aggressive stance than Japan did toward the issue. China is also said to have frozen North Korean accounts at one branch of a Chinese bank, which is clear enough to give the impression to North Korea that it has joined the US’s financial sanctions against North Korea.
It is undeniable that relations between China and North Korea have worsened with the test-firing. The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Liu Jianchao acknowledged, on his visit to South Korea last August that “the differences of opinions between China and North Korea occurred due to the test firing” and this “brought about negative impact on the political situation of the Korean Peninsula.”… http://www.nautilus.org
There are twenty to thirty thousand troops on the other side of the border in South Korea, should this situation worsen. North Korea fired first and went on for ninety minutes.
The White House condemned the actions of North Korea and told them to halt immediately. President Obama is supposed to speak to them tonight at 9 P.M. EST. We should have a paper transcript later of the phone call.
John Bolton, the former United States ambassador, said the U.S .response needs to be stronger. Given the spance of time from telling us about their nuclear weapon and then the hit means they are probably looking for something from the U.S. that gives them what they want as a compromise to stop shelling South Korea.
Obama doesn’t seem to know how to respond to beligerant behavior by these people. We have to make it clear we are not interested in negotiating with this type of behavior.
We have to define more precisely our objective. We have to squeese North Korea and bring them down to get with the rest of the world. In that way we can bring them in with the South as it should be.
Will this reach a crisis level? It’s hard to tell what the future holds from this point. What we do know is that the world is a volatile place so we need a strong leader who is not too timid to stand up to them.
President Obama appears to be weak when viewed by world leaders and is willing to bend over backwards to avoid a confrontation says John Bolton.
When asked if he thinks we would go to war over this, Bolton said that likely we will not. Korea will get away with this bad behavior, just like they have for years and for generations.
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