Norks attack South Korea

NY Times:

North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire on Tuesday after dozens of shells fired from the North struck a South Korean island near the countries’ disputed maritime border, South Korean military officials said. Two South Korean soldiers were killed, 15 were wounded and three civilians were injured, said Kiyheon Kwon, an official at the Defense Ministry.

The South Korean military went to “crisis status,” and fighter planes were put on alert but did not take off.

South Korean artillery units returned fire after the North’s shells struck South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island at 2:34 p.m., said Mr. Kwon, adding that the North also fired numerous rounds into the Yellow Sea. Television footage showed large plumes of black smoke spiraling from the island, and news reports said dozens of houses were on fire.

The official North Korean news agency said in a brief statement Tuesday night that the South had started the fight when it “recklessly fired into our sea area.”

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The Washington Post reports:

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South Korea called the shelling of the civilian-inhabited island of Yeonpyeong, which lies near the disputed maritime border separating North and South Korea, a breach of the 57-year-old armistice that halted the Korean War without a peace agreement.

The North fired an estimated 200 artillery shells onto the island, and the South returned fire with about 80 shells from its own howitzers. The attack began just after 2:30 p.m.

News reports said the 1,000 or so residents of the island escaped to bunkers while the shelling continued. Television footage showed several plumes of black smoke rising from the island.

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The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

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A North Korea expert at Beijing's Central Party School, Zhang Liangui, told the Herald that Kim Jong-un was deliberately destabilising the environment in order to mobilise the military and consolidate his power.

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The north's military ''will continue to make merciless military attacks with no hesitation if the South Korean enemy dares to invade our sea territory by 0.001 mm'', it said in the statement carried by the official news agency. ''It is our military's traditional response to quell provocative actions with a merciless thunderbolt.''

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Here is some amateur footage of the results of the attack.



The Wall Street Journal reports that the US says the Norks started the barrage.

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