Most of the press is reporting the basic story, that there was a sudden attack on a South Korean island. Thanks to some South Korean peace activists, with no love of North Korea’s government but deep suspicion of US-South Korean motives, we now have a slightly wider picture of what has been happening. Although given passing mention in the mainstream press, the peace activists stress US and South Korea have been holding war game practice involving masses of soldiers and equipment and that this has been the trend with the rightist government in South Korea as well as the Us, always seeking to expand its empire. Seen as a provocation by the north, the South Koreans and US were apparently told to halt the exercises before the attack. While not an attempt to exonerate the North, many see the current South Korean-US-Japanese strategy as trying to provoke North Korea in order to justify perpetuation of the US-Indistrial complex with its very profitable business in munitions and the proliferation of bases, including the stationing of nuclear weapons in South Korea.
Here is the unedited report as received from the South Korean peace activists, which incluldes an English language report from the South Korean newspaper, The Hankyoreh.
“So sorry thing happened.. Why the ROK-US war drills are dangerous.. It is because they can be extended any time to war. That is why the NK cannot but be in tense situation during the ROK-US war exercises that have been escalating since the July of this after the manipulated investigation result of the Cheonan ship incident.. Aggressive ROK-US war alliance should end. Sung-Hee Choi
[3th LD] N.Korea fires artillery shells toward Yeonpyeong Island, killing two marines S.Korea has returned fire in the first inter-Korean artillery battle since 1970
Posted on : Nov.23,2010 15:31 KST
Modified on : Nov.23,2010 22:08 KST
By Park Jung-eon, Senior Staff Writer
North Korea fired some 100 artillery rounds toward South Korean waters and an island near the tense West Sea on Tuesday, killing two marines and leaving at least 15 others wounded, five of them critically, South Korea’s military reported.
The artillery shells from North Korea’s artillery troops at the west coast stronghold near the border fell at 2:34 p.m. in South Korea’s waters off the island of Yeonpyeong, some of them landing directly on the island, said Col. Lee Bung-woo, spokesman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). South Korea’s military responded by firing 80 rounds of K-9 artillery and deployed F-15K fighter jets to the island, while putting the military on its highest peacetime alert. JCS officials said South Korea’s military sent a telephone message to North Korea urging them to stop the shelling. This marked the first artillery battle exchanging firing since 1970.
JCS Chairman Han Min-koo and Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of some 28,500 U.S. troops in the South, held telephone talks and agreed to consider declaring a “joint crisis management,” the JCS spokesman said.
According to the Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House), President Lee Myung-bak told his aides to respond strictly to the attack but carefully manage the situation to prevent the escalation of the clash before presiding over an emergency meeting of security-related ministers at an underground bunker of the presidential office.
North Korea fired the artillery during South Korea’s military drill called the Hoguk Exercise on Nov. 22-30 that involves 70,000 South Korean military troops, 50 warships, 90 helicopters and 500 planes. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) of U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Seventh Air Force will also participate in the exercise. (* For more on it, click HERE)
North Korea has condemned the annual exercise and warned they would fire shots, while South Korea has called it an exercise to enhance its military command capabilities. Observers said North Korea has strongly opposed to this exercise, an upgraded version of Team Spirit, saying that the large scale joint military exercise, including warships, air force and landing training, is aimed at attack on North Korea.
North Korea’s top military command threatened to continue “merciless” strikes on South Korea in a statement by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, while accusing South Korea’s military of initiating the exchange by shooting toward its side.
Two marines were killed and five soldiers were seriously wounded, while ten soldiers and civilians were reportedly wounded by the attack. Yeonpyeong Island was engulfed in thick smoke when fire spread on a mountain and homes and forest were ablaze in fire. Some 1,600 residents at Yeonpyeong Island were all evacuated to shelters and suffered a blackout from the power outage.
The western sea near the border has been the scene of bloody gun battles between the navies of North Korea and South Korea that took place in 1999, 2002 and in November of last year.
Please direct questions or comments to [firstname.lastname@example.org]”
Note that this newspaper has also had many reports, some republished here, about the inconsistencies in the official version of the attack on a South Korean warship, Cheonan, again possibly involving deliberate misrepresentation by US and South Korean officails.
—end of message from peace activists in South Korea—-
The US has often threatened N.Korea and sabtaged any attempt at normalization, and here is one link documenting such behavior. Not an excuse for N. korean behavior, but again putting things in their larger context.
Expect more news in the coming days, and multiple spins by the various actors.