Tuesday, November 23, 2010

North Korea Attacks South Korean Island of Yeonpyeong Today

Today, starting around 2:00 PM local time, North Korea escalated rising tensions precipitously by opening up with an artillery barrage on South Korea's Yeonpyeong island, about 75 miles west of the coast near the disputed border between North and South Korea. 

South Korea returned artillery fire and scrambled jets to protect the area.  Sources say that approximately 200 shells were fired between the two sides until approximately 3:30 PM local time.  In addition to the people killed or injured, several houses and buildings were destroyed as columns of black smoke were reported rising from the island which has a population of 1,200 to 1,300 people.

Latest reports said that two South Korean marines were killed and twenty other people, both civilian and military, were injured in the attack.  There was understandably no report on casualties inflicted on North Korea by South Korea's retaliatory barrage.

This is the second major incident and act of war perpetrated by Kim Jong Il and North Korea upon the South Koreans this year.  Earlier on March 26th, a South Korean naval vessel was sunk by what is assumed to have been a torpedo from a North Korean submarine.  Many South Korean sailors died in the unanswered attack.  North Korea, characteristically, denied having done so.

The White House issued a statement on today's attack through Press Secretary Gibbs saying, "The United States strongly condemns this attack and calls on North Korea to halt its belligerent action and to fully abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement."  Further, Gibbs continued, "The United States is firmly committed to the defense of our ally, the Republic of Korea, and to the maintenance of regional peace and stability." 

Currently there are approximately 30,000 United States troops stationed in South Korea to protect the good people there and maintain security along the border with North Korea that had been established in the armistice during the cease fire at the end of the Korean War in 1953. 

Earlier this month, President Obama stated in a speech given to American troops stationed there that, "Pyongyang should not be mistaken: The United States will never waver in our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea. We will not waver."

So as the escalation of tensions in the region increase due to the unpredictable dictator Kim Jong Il, who recently announced that his son Kim Jong Un would be his heir to the leadership of North Korea, the world watches as North Korea now has committed inarguably at least two acts of war against its southern neighbor just this year.  Further, Kim Jong Il has stated that North Korea now has a new uranium enrichment facility, presumably to create more fuel for nuclear weapons.

The situation here is indeed delicate, but these unprovoked attacks warrant a strong and unambiguous response from South Korea, the United States, and the world.  Placating or de-escalating the situation through concessions and/or appeasement of this rogue regime will ultimately only invite more of the same behaviour in the long run. 

Already, Japan is on high alert in the region and fears of this situation spreading out of control are not unreasonable.  China, which is pretty much the main benefactor of North Korea and by far the most important nation responsible for what commerce and goods that the isolationist regime has, must condemn these actions in clear and absolute terms.  The United States must use all influence to ensure that China does so, otherwise sooner or later the stakes will be too high and South Korea and 30,000 American service members will be in extreme jeopardy.


free0352 said...

This is just Kim Jong Il rattling that saber to get back to six party talks to demand more free money.

I say we freak out to China and sick that country on them. It will be more effective than Barry HO shaking his impotent, weak little fist at them from south of the DMZ.

The Warrior said...

I heard about this. Not good news, not good news at all.

T. Paine said...

Free, I agree that we need to pressure China to deal with Kim Jong menatlly Il. They are the only country with any seeming influence over North Korea.

I noticed that Obama is sending the carrier George Washington, and I imagine its accompanying task force, to do military exercises with South Korea as a response.

free0352 said...

KJI knew that carrier group would be coming, he doesn't care. This is all about shaking down the west. He knows we'll pay NK tribute because our military is so busy in Iraq and Afghanistan and our economy is so over extended we'll do anything to avoid a war.

He's just ringing his cash register- us.

Obama has been right to ignore him since he took office. Were I Obama I'd cut off all aid to NK, and let South Korea deal with the fall out. They've got a free national defese out of us for 60 years so I figure it's their turn. They can deal with it. Anyway, after a few years without western aid NK will either revolt or starve to death... either is fine with me and solves the problem long run.

Giving in to KJI does't. Screw him, let him fire his little cannons north of the boarder till he runs out of ammo.

T. Paine said...

Free, we are not in disagreement. I still think we need to pressure China to spank North Korea.

And by all means, we ABSOLUTELY had better not give any carrots to KJI for his behavior whatsoever.