South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island
South Returns Fire on North After Shells Wound Troops
South Korea scrambled fighter jets and returned fire after North Korea lobbed dozens of shells into its waters and an island, injuring 14 soldiers according to the government and YTN reports.
Television footage showed smoke billowing from Yeonpyeong island off South Korea’s northwest coast, where the shelling set fire to houses, YTN said. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed in a statement on its website that North Korea fired “several” shells.
One South Korean marine was killed in the shelling KBS reported, without saying where it got the information. Four of 14 marines hurt were injured seriously, YTN said, also without elaborating. Two civilians were hurt, the TV channel said.
Yeonpyeong Island, 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) south from the border, was close to the site of two deadly naval skirmishes between the two nations in 1999 and 2002. North Korea last fired artillery near the island in August.
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak called an emergency meeting, his office said.
The military has been put on high alert and will “respond strongly” to further provocation, the defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of departmental rules.
“What can South Korea do apart from a bit of chest beating?” Lankov said. “They are not going to start a war. I think they will try to play it down.”
President Barack Obama dispatched his envoy on the country, Stephen Bosworth, to Asia this week after reports by a U.S. scientist that North Korea had revealed to him a “stunning” new uranium-enrichment plant. Bosworth is in Beijing today, after visiting Tokyo and Seoul.
Labels: Not so pacific Pacific