North Korea attacks: South Korean island shelled


I hope this doesn’t escalate. Is it a sign Kim Jong-il is getting even closer to falling off his perch?

(Reuters) – North Korea on Tuesday fired dozens of artillery shells at a South Korean island, setting buildings on fire and prompting a return of fire by the South, Seoul’s military and media reports said.

A witness said residents of the island of Yeonpyeong, off the west coast of the peninsula near a disputed maritime border, had been evacuated.

Yonhap news agency said four South Korean soldiers had been wounded in the shelling, the biggest attack in years.

YTN television quoted a witness as saying 60 to 70 houses were on fire after the shelling and TV footage showed plumes of smoke coming from the island. It said a South Korean fighter jet had been deployed to the west coast after the shelling.

CNN reckons puts it at 14 soldiers and two civilians. About 200 shells were fired, and yes, South Korea fired back.

It’s 4:30 here now. The attack happened two hours ago.

UPDATE

This is on-going.

The attack could have been for a number of reasons, not necessarily mutually exclusive. It could be classic NK brinkmanship, a negotiating tool to get more goodies from the West and the South. It could also be another show of strength – in addition to the nuke plant being unveiled the other day and the sinking of the SK warship Cheonan earlier this year – to bolster the hopes of KJI’s heir, the young Kim Jong-un.

Hopefully it isn’t KJI going out with a bang, going down in a blaze of glory.

Casualties have been revised. One dead and 13 injured soldiers.

Maybe NK is, but I wasn’t before and certainly am not now hopeful of the six-party talks resuming anytime soon.

I live quite away away from the attack site so am not overly nervous at the moment.

UPDATE II

It’s not the first time Yeongpyeong has been a target. More here.

No surprise, but Asian stocks have tumbled. The South Korean won has been hit hard, too. US bonds have risen.

Obama’s envoy is in the region after NK unveiled their new nuke plant the other day.

The Asian Games are continuing as per normal.

UPDATE III

More here. Was it retaliation for SK military drills in the disputed area, a border region?

SK president, Lee Myung-bak, orders “do everything you can to make a stern response and prevent the situation from worsening.”

CNN is reporting even South Koreans (friends of the reporter) used to this stuff, are quite worried about this one. It’s certainly an escalation of late. It looks like there’s an evacuation to the mainland going on.

UPDATE IV

One of my Korean ex-students and friend reckons it could go all the way this time. Hope he’s wrong, but if he’s right, give me a gun.

Anybody know how to fire one, lol?

China – a big influence over NK – has expressed “concern”.

Is this to get attention by NK? They reckon they’ll bargain their nuke capacity for economic aid, but I wouldn’t trust ’em as far as I can throw ’em.

Have texted other Korean friends. CNN reporters saying the same: this is being treated differently.

Oh yep, and the NK artillery bunkers are hard to hit. Dug into the cliffs on the west coast.

UPDATE VI

s_dog: I wonder if the international community & UN will take this more seriously than they did the submarine attack in March?” Well spot, the SKs are.

After the Cheonan’s sinking by NK in March, the SKs are pissed.

UPDATE VII

Second soldier possibly dead: report on CNN TV

UPDATE VIII

CNN: White House strongly condemns. Link when available.

Second soldier – both marines – dead confirmed.

UPDATE IX

As expected, SK head honchos are in a bunker. First artillery fire since the armistice in 1953. SK gov presumably not wanting this to escalate, going to UN.

Big Korean companies down up to 5%

UPDATE X

It looks like a “let’s see” situation now. What will NK do?

More importantly, we are awaiting a real response from the SK government.

8:50pm. They are umming and erring. Letting it fizz. Not necessarily a bad thing. Bad for my hitcount. Good for my bank account.

Meh, Nk’s best has resulted in a few hours in the spotlight. Now no-one cares, just like before.

FAIL.

Should Korea want to continue, NK know they will die.

UPDATE XI

Hyundai down 7.43% Korean won down 3%. Sumsung electronics down, too.

But nothing has happened for hours, and think of the context as to why NK would do this. They know they’d lose an all-out war.

So let’s hope the markets don’t lose it tomorrow.

Paycheck just took a hit, though. Bugger.

NEXT!

UPDATE XII

UPDATE XIII

A good clip in the Brisbane Times. Two soldiers dead. 17 injured along with 3 civilians. Houses burned down, evacuated residents. SK president (it looks like from the bunker under the Blue House – Sk’s White House -) is plenty pissed. First attack on civilians in ages. Tit for tat, NK news – state run – blaming SK re the routine SK military exercises. Good video footage I can finally put up. UN SC will prob. hold emergency meeting.

Sks can be hard to deal with but NKs take the cake.

SK president, donned in military leather jacket: “I think it’s the duty of the Korean army to respond with actions. Especially, we can never tolerate unconditional attacks against civilians.”

UPDATE XIV

White House statement is finally up.

Earlier today North Korea conducted an artillery attack against the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. We are in close and continuing contact with our Korean allies.

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.

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.

White House says it’s too early to retaliate militarily. (Includes pathetic channel 9 clip – good article, though.)

True. This will probably, so far, just hurt people’s bank accounts over here.

Thanks to Carpe Jugulum, a Japan Times article. A few different figures (100 shells?), and extra quotes.

UPDATE XV

Aussie PM, Julia Gillard, has “grave concern”.

Markets are down all over the globe. The Aussie dollar also took a hit.

Some investors are trying to play it cool, however.

The ROK’s official website (a touristy thing), doesn’t have squat. Maybe if they built their proposed offshore wind farm (*groan*) a little further to the north…

“Experts:
Korea conflict poses major risk for U.S.” No, really. You think so? Interestingly, though, China reckons there’s no need to do anything.

UPDATE XVI

Matt Drudge: It begins

SK Prez: SK may strike NK missile silos.

SK denies seeking nukes. Hmm, it’d teach KJI a lesson.

Andrew Bolt: I fear this tyranny will go out not with a whimper but a bang.

We could end this right now if we really wanted to.

UPDATE XVII

Andrew Bolt on MTR paraphrasing Aus foreign minister and ex-PM, Kevin Rudd: Only China can sort NK out (but remember China has basically said they won’t do jack). And yes, who knows what’s what in that Marxist paradise, NK? It is Marxism mixed with Confucianism, however, so it’s doubtful the “Great Leader” is being subverted. Still, again, who knows? The NK bit comes up right at the start of the broadcast if you don’t have the time or whatever to listen to the lot.

UPDATE XVIII

Talked to one of my students after class. Her dad works at the military base nearby. Her English is good but by no means perfect, but what I could gather was at least down this end of the country, personnel weren’t called in for any extra or special duties.

UPDATE XIX

SK experts can’t rule out it’s NK military hardliners flexing their muscles as part of this rapid and rather forced succession from Kim Jong-il to his third son, 28 year old Kim Jong-un.

UPDATE XX

It’s been a pretty slow news day which is probably a good thing.

This could well be in part because the US and China are at odds as to what the next move should be. Obama’s gang wants strong international condemnation whereas China is thus far unwilling to punish North Korea.

The US and SK have agreed to stage another round of war games soon as a show of force to the gangster nation. South Korea have also stopped sending any more food aid to the starving, impoverished North.

The Philippine government says it has a plan in place to evacuate all 60,000 Filipinos living and working over here. They’ve also stated they’re willing to help in any conflict. They would do this under a UN flag like the did in the original Korean war.

Meanwhile South Korea has raised its port security for ports near the maritime border to level 2. There haven’t been any disruptions to oil tankers and the like so far.

Also, the SK government is willing to pump liquidity into the markets if necessary.

Here’s Kevin Rudd on the issue reiterating that China needs to do something to reign in the North Koreans. Of anybody, they have the most influence.

More from blogger Kushibo here.

UPDATE XXI

Professor Brian Myers, author of The Cleanest Race, suggests the Norks attacked yesterday because the South didn’t retaliate hard enough when the warship Cheonan was sunk in March. Interesting but don’t laugh. The bloke’s an expert when it comes to North Korea.

Christopher Hitchens talks of the book here.

UPDATE XXII

Via Tim Blair, a comparison of South Korea and North Korea’s military.

UPDATE XXIII

War of words:

SK president, Lee Myung-bak: “enormous retaliation”

NK: “merciless thunderbolt”

More here.

UPDATE XXIV

Last one.

It’s mainly just words now. Everything has settled down over here. Europe’s condemned it. Palin made a silly gaffe. It’s South Korea, Sarah. Lol, that one’s up there with Obi’s 57 states quip. The UN doesn’t really know what to do. You probably know by now the North blamed the South, saying they started it. Well, they’ve sent a letter to the US saying as much and blamed the US for drawing the demarcation line back in ’53 in the first place.

And, that’s just about it, folks… until something else happens.

UPDATE XXV

OK. Last last one.

The SK president is under a lot of pressure to have done more and to do more, so we might see some more carnage yet.

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    • Carpe Jugulum
    • November 23rd, 2010

    NK are completely nucking futs, if this is a display of brinkmanship it’s the worst sort. Stay safe & keep updating.

    Cheers

    The house of Jugulum

    • elsie (of brisbane)
    • November 23rd, 2010

    Scary stuff! Hope it doesn’t escalate!

  1. Thanks, guys.

    • Merilyn
    • November 23rd, 2010

    Take care bing, even if you are some distance away. Saw the headlines on The Australian homepage and thought of you and lady bing straight away.

    • Thanks, Merilyn.

    • onepointsixoneeight
    • November 23rd, 2010

    Stay safe BB, was updating at same time to your site X

    • Thanks, GG. :hugs:

    • Carpe Jugulum
    • November 23rd, 2010

    Lady Jugulum skyped her family, it hit the news in Kobe at 4pm JST. Nervous times.

  2. Hi,
    Not a good situation at all, I certainly hope you and Lady Bing stay safe.
    This was in News.com.au.

    This instability has been exacerbated by an apparent succession process in which the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il, is seeking to gradually transfer power to his youngest son.

    “Regional analysts suggest that a fight for power could erupt when the ailing Kim dies. That struggle may already be underway and could involve members of the powerful military involved in triggering today’s fighting.”

    http://www.news.com.au/world/bombardment-of-south-korean-island-sparks-artillery-clash-with-north/story-e6frfkyi-1225959632651

    • Yep. It’s probably KJI but there could well be other senior figures flexing THEIR muscles in, for wont of a better phrase, a pre-emptive strike.

      The real killer is that nobody really knows when it comes to NK.

      SKs can be hard to deal with at times but NKs take the cake.

  3. It seems that NK’s situation is deteriorating, however slowly, and so they have to expand their threat to seem more powerful than they actually are. Even if that’s the case, a strong, immediate, and very threatening response from S. Korea, the rest of Asia, and the U.S. is necessary to stop them cold and impress upon them the requirement (not “need”) that they cease and desist from their aggressions.

    Either that, or the geekboy solution: Nuke them. It’s the only way to be sure.

    • In a perfect world, nuking Pyeongyang would be great. That’d send a pretty clear message, and as the post above states, a war would fix this.

      The biggest problem is that we have about 20 million Seoul residents – about half the country – who probably don’t want to be hit with a barrage of mortars, bombs and missiles. They are in range.

    • Winston Smith
    • November 24th, 2010

    My bet, bingbing, is that the Chinese are playing with North Korea on a long leash – just to let everyone know what they can do. With the US tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of their heavy armour mothballed or in Europe, there’s not a lot they can do.
    I’d be pulling the armour out of Europe and bringing it back to the US for refurbishment and retraining. Let the Europeans raise a few divisions for their own defence.

    Keep your head down, sport.

    • Cheers.

      I wouldn’t put that past them.

      But Europe defending itself?! Madness! 😉

      Actually, the US with SK is probably capable of beating NK as it stands… provided China maintained their do-nothing policy.

  1. November 23rd, 2010
  2. November 25th, 2010

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