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calendar   Tuesday - November 23, 2010

Another Round of Stupid with the NorKs

Incoming!

North Korea Shells S.K. Island

Artillery bombardment leaves several dead, many buildings destroyed

image

These people are nuts. Conflicting reports from around the world say somewhere between dozens and hundreds of shells rained down on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island. Civilians either evacuated or rushed to get into bomb shelters. Several - at least 2 so far - didn’t make it and were killed in the barrage.

News video here.

This is the largest land based escalation between the two nations in nearly 60 years.

North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells onto a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing one person, setting homes ablaze and triggering an exchange of fire as the South’s military went on top alert. In what appeared to be one of the most serious border incidents since the 1950-53 war, South Korean troops fired back with cannon, the government convened in an underground war room and “multiple” air force jets scrambled.

The firing came after North Korea’s disclosure of an apparently operational uranium enrichment programme—a second potential way of building a nuclear bomb—which is causing serious alarm for the United States and its allies. Some 50 shells landed on the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong near the tense Yellow Sea border, damaging dozens of houses and sending plumes of thick smoke into the air, YTN television reported.

One South Korean marine—part of a contingent based permanently on the frontline island—was killed and 13 other marines were wounded, the military said. YTN said two civilians were also hurt.
“A Class-A military alert issued for battle situations was imposed immediately after shelling began,” a military spokesman said. Sporadic firing by each side continued for over an hour before dying out, the military said.

The shelling began at 2:34 pm (0534 GMT) after the North sent several messages protesting about South Korean naval, air force and army training exercises being staged close to the border, a presidential spokesman said.

North Korea has warned it will continue to launch attacks if the South violates its disputed sea border and blamed Seoul for starting major clashes that killed two soldiers.  South Korea said around 200 North Korean artillery shells hit one of its islands, prompting Seoul to return fire. But the communist state claimed its arch-rival fired first, after the North warned Seoul to halt military drills in the area. Two South Korean marines were killed and 16 other soldiers hurt, some seriously, after the shelling on the island of Yeonpyeong. Around 70 houses were also ablaze.

It was one of the heaviest bombardments on the South since the Korean War ended with a truce in 1953. This means the countries are still technically at war. North Korea has now threatened to continue launching strikes if its neighbour violates their western sea border “even 0.001 millimetre”. [ more video at this link.

South Korea Vows ‘Enormous Retaliation’ After North’s Deadly Island Bombardment

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who convened an emergency security meeting shortly after the initial bombardment, said that an “indiscriminate attack on civilians can never be tolerated.”

“Enormous retaliation should be made to the extent that (North Korea) cannot make provocations again,” he said.
The United Nations Security Council could hold an emergency meeting in the next day or two over the attack, saying “It’s in the works for either today or tomorrow. We are for it and planning is ongoing,” Reuters reports.

The United States, which has tens of thousands of troops stationed in South Korea, condemned the attack and called on North Korea to “halt its belligerent action,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in Washington. He said the United States is “firmly committed” to South Korea’s defense, and to the “maintenance of regional peace and stability.”

The North’s artillery struck the small South Korean-held island of Yeonpyeong, which houses military installations and a small civilian population and which has been the focus of two previous deadly battles between the Koreas.

Fat lot of good that will do. By the time the UN schedules and actually holds a meeting, both countries could be piles of glowing glass.

The countries’ western maritime boundary has long been a flash point between the two Koreas. The North does not recognize the border that was unilaterally drawn by the United Nations at the close of the 1950-53 Korean War.

North and South Korea have fought three bloody skirmishes near the maritime border in recent years, most recently in November 2009. That battle left one North Korean officer dead and three others wounded, according to South Korean officials.

Two deadly clashes have previously erupted around Yeonpyeong. In a gunbattle in June 2002, one South Korean warship sank, killing six sailors. The North said it also suffered casualties, but didn’t confirm how many. In a 1999 clash, South Korea said several sailors were wounded, and that up to 30 North Koreans died.

In a sign of North Korea’s anger over the South Korean drills, North Korea’s state news agency said in a dispatch Monday that South Korea was readying war games with the United States for aggressive purposes against North Korea. The dispatch quoted what it said were sympathetic Swiss groups that called the drills “a criminal act of aggression for provoking another Korean war.”

The existence of North Korea’s new uranium enrichment facility came to light over the weekend after Pyongyang showed it to a visiting American nuclear scientist, claiming that the highly sophisticated operation had 2,000 completed centrifuges. Top U.S. military officials warn that it could speed the North’s ability to make and deliver viable nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, one North Korean expert believes Tuesday’s attack was nothing more than a calling card for its 26-year-old dictator in waiting.

North Korean expert Zhang Liangui told the Sydney Morning Herald that the attack was a deliberate act of brinksmanship to rally the military behind Kim Jong-il’s anointed successor, Kim Jong-un.

Let’s not forget that the NorKs sunk that SK destroyer in the spring, killing dozens of sailors. That was also in the western ocean border area.

So here is the real, and only question: Is this act of war a sufficient act of war to restart a war that has been slowly bubbling away for the past 6 decades? In all that time the two sides haven’t been able to find more than an iota of peace.

“The provocation this time can be regarded as an invasion of South Korean territory,” President Lee Myung-bak said at the headquarters of the Joint Chiefs of Staff here, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

“Given that North Korea maintains an offensive posture, I think the army, the navy and the air force should unite and retaliate against [the North’s] provocation with multiple-fold firepower.”

The incident “the first direct artillery attack on South Korean territory since the Korean War ended in an armistice, not a formal peace treaty” in the 1950s, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

It has prompted great concern across South Korea and in the United States, which has 28,500 troops deployed in South Korea. [ video at this link too ]

And now the NorKs are showing off their new nuclear enrichment facility? Horry clap. These people are rabidly insane.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/23/2010 at 11:54 AM   
Filed Under: • North-Korea •  
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