Quantcast
Connect with us

North, South Korea exchange fire; 2 marines killed

Published

on

North Korea shells South Korean island, killing 2 marines; Seoul fires back, scrambles jets

North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire Tuesday after the North shelled an island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter.

The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused, the North bombarded the small South Korean-held island of Yeonpyeong, which houses military installations and a small civilian population.

ADVERTISEMENT

South Korea returned fire and dispatched fighter jets in response, and said there could be considerable North Korean casualties as troops unleashed intense retaliatory fire. The supreme military command in Pyongyang threatened more strikes if the South crossed their maritime border by “even 0.001 millimeter,” according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Government officials in Seoul called the bombardments “inhumane atrocities” that violated the 1953 armistice halting the Korean War. The two sides technically remain at war because a peace treaty was never signed.

The exchange was a sharp escalation of the skirmishes that flare up along the disputed border from time to time, and come amid high tensions over North Korea’s claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility and just six weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir apparent.

Columns of thick black smoke could be seen rising from homes on the island in footage aired by YTN cable television. Screams and shouts filled the air as shells rained down on the island for about an hour.

“I thought I would die,” Lee Chun-ok, 54, told The Associated Press after being evacuated to the port city of Incheon, west of Seoul. “I was really, really terrified, and I’m still terrified.”

ADVERTISEMENT

She said she was watching TV when the shelling began, and a wall and door in her home suddenly collapsed.

The United States, which has more than 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea, condemned the attack. in Washington, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called on North Korea to “halt its belligerent action,” and said the U.S. is “firmly committed” to South Korea’s defense, and to the “maintenance of regional peace and stability.”

China, the North’s economic and political benefactor, which also maintains close commercial ties to the South, appealed to both sides to remain calm and “to do more to contribute to peace and stability on the peninsula, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Yeonpyeong, famous for its crabbing industry and home to about 1,200 civilians as well as South Korean military installations, is west of the Korean mainland within sight of North Korean shores. There are about 30 other small islands nearby.

North Korea fired dozens of rounds of artillery in three separate barrages that began in the mid-afternoon, while South Korea returned fire with about 80 rounds, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The entire exchange lasted about an hour.

ADVERTISEMENT

Two South Korean marines were killed and 16 injured, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Island residents escaped to some 20 shelters on the island and sporadic shelling ended after about an hour, according to the military.

The skirmish occurred a day after the South Korean military began holding drills in the area, exercises that North Korea’s military demanded an end to early Tuesday, the JCS said.

South Korean marines participating in the drill had been shooting artillery during those drills, but toward southern waters, away from North Korea, a military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to military rules.

ADVERTISEMENT

President Lee Myung-bak ordered officials to “respond sternly” but to refrain from allowing the situation to escalate, according to a presidential official. He asked not to be identified, citing the issue’s sensitivity.

Lee was convening an emergency security meeting, the official said.

The Koreans have remained in a technical state of war for decades because their three-year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953.

However, North Korea does not recognize the western maritime border drawn unilaterally by the United Nations at the close of the conflict, and the Koreas have fought three bloody skirmishes there in recent years.

ADVERTISEMENT

In March, a South Korean warship went down in the waters while on a routine patrolling mission. Forty-six sailors were killed in what South Korea calls the worst military attack on the country since the Korean War.

Seoul blamed a North Korean torpedo, but Pyongyang denied responsibility.

Source: AP News

Mochila insert follows…

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump declares impeachment ‘dead’ — and demands apology — in late night Twitter outburst

Published

on

President Donald Trump lashed out on his favorite social media platform late Thursday evening.

Eight minutes before midnight eastern time, Trump unloaded.

Trump wrote, "Democrats must apologize to USA: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that 'United States Ambassador Gordon Sondland did NOT link financial military assistance to a request for Ukraine to open up an investigation into former V.P. Joe Biden & his son, Hunter Biden. Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigation.'”

Trump did not say why he was taking the word of a foreign official over multiple sworn testimonies from members of his own administration.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Pelosi is ‘marrying up the facts and the law’: Ex-prosecutor says ‘bribery’ is a critical indictment of Trump

Published

on

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was masterful in using the word "bribery" to describe President Donald Trump's actions with Ukraine that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, according to a former federal prosecutor.

MSNBC anchor Brian Williams interviewed former Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger on Thursday evening's "The Last Word."

Please expand for us on why it is significant and why is it important to label this bribery," Williams said.

"So I think Nancy Pelosi was very specific in calling this bribery for two reasons," Berger replied.

"The first is that -- unlike quid pro quo -- ribery is something that most people understand, especially people who have children," she said, with a chuckle. "We all sort of have a general understanding of that."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Giuliani henchmen showered Republican with cash — and Trump almost made him ambassador to Ukraine: report

Published

on

Yet another bombshell report has shed new light on President Donald Trump's suspicious Ukraine policies.

"At the same time that Rudy Giuliani and his now-indicted pals were pushing for President Donald Trump to remove Amb. Marie Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine, Trump administration officials were eyeing potential contenders to take over her job. One of the people in the mix, according to three sources familiar with the discussions, was Rep. Pete Sessions, a former Congressman who called for Yovanovitch’s firing," The Daily Beast reported Thursday night. "He is also a longtime ally of the former New York Mayor, and is believed to have taken millions of dollars from Giuliani’s indicted cronies."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image