ROK and Inter-Korean relations
Return to DPRK indexpage
Return to ROK and Inter-Korean relations page
Bang! Now let's talk
By Sunny Lee
BEIJING - North Korea's surprising disclosure of uranium-enrichment facilities comes as a powerful jolt to the United States and South Korea, which have adopted a dual strategy of stick and carrot in getting Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.
The challenge for Seoul and Washington is to find a coordinated response, analysts said.
The North continued to up the ante on Tuesday when it fired dozens of artillery shells at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula near a disputed maritime border.
A spokesman for South Korea's joint chief of staff confirmed the
incident but only said "scores of rounds" were fired. The fire apparently came from positions south of the North Korean city of Haeju, and the South returned fire.
Yeonpyeong-do: The Tragic Result of Aggressive Military Exercises and Escalating Antagonism North and South
The peace movement must gather its strength to oppose all further actions that threaten the peaceful existence of the Korean people.
24 November 2010
People's Solidarity for Social Progress
On November 23 at 2:34pm North Korea fired more than a hundred artillery shells in the vicinity of Yeongpyeong-do, an Island of the west coast of the Korean peninsula that is home to roughly 1, 300 South Korean citizens (sic). Many of the artillery rounds landed on Yeongpyeong-do in an area populated by civilians. The South Korean military responded, firing roughly 80 of their own shells. The back-and-forth, which lasted over an hour, left two South Korean marines and two civilians dead, and fires burning across the island.
The South Korean government, while stating it will do its utmost to stop the situation from escalating, has, at the same time, promised a resolute response in the event of further provocation. North Korea, broadcasting its official position on the incident through the Korean Central News Agency on the evening of the 23rd, claimed that the South had persisted with artillery exercises in North Korean territorial waters despite repeated warnings, and that the North had, therefore, "responded with an immediate and forceful attack." It also promised to "respond without hesitation with a continuous merciless military attack" if South Korea intrudes "even 0.001 mm" into North Korean territorial waters.
[Clash] [False balance]
N.Korea's 'Regret' Over Civilian Deaths Is a Sham
North Korea on Saturday accused South Korea of placing "human shields" in military installations on Yeonpyeong Island in an attempt to pass the blame to the South for the death of two civilians in last week's artillery attack. The state-run Korean Central News Agency said reports of civilian deaths, if true, would be "regrettable," but added the fault is entirely with South Korea.
North Korea rained shells on South Korean artillery positions on Yeonpyeong Island as well as a town 1.5 km away. A mountain stands between the Marine positions and the town. Judging by how accurately the shells hit South Korean artillery positions, it appears that the North had been aiming its guns at both military and civilian targets, and the deaths occurred far away from the military installations.
N.Korea's Comments on Attack Mask Mixed Motives
North Korea in a hedged commentary on Saturday described two civilian deaths in its massive shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last week as "regrettable." "If [the report is] true, it is very regrettable," the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.
Even a heavily qualified expression of regret is rare for the North, but it squarely blamed South Korea for the tragedy, which "was due to the actions of the enemy, who put civilians in military installations to use as human shields."
The comments met with an angry reception in South Korea. "Absolutely no sincerity can be felt," said a Unification Ministry official. A Defense Ministry official on Sunday said the comments are "attempts to rationalize immoral behavior" and "an intolerable insult to the [South Korean] public and military."
N.Korea Boosts Coastal Defenses as Allied War Games Start
North Korea has threatened to respond "mercilessly" to South Korean-U.S. military exercise that began Sunday.
In time with the start of the joint exercise, the North Korean military fired about 30 artillery shells from the Kaemori region north of Yeonpyeong Island into the West Sea as part of a military drill of its own. It also moved some of its 122 mm multiple rocket launchers and opened more camouflaged artillery gates to coastal positions.
[Joint US military]
70% Support Military Action Against N.Korea
Nearly 70 percent of the South Koreans support limited military actions in response to North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last Tuesday. This contrasts starkly with the mood in April, after North Korea sank the Navy corvette Cheonan, when less than 30 percent said they support military action.
Although in April roughly equal numbers thought the government reaction to the Cheonan sinking was appropriate or inappropriate, now those who say the government's response to the Yeonpyeong attack was inadequate outnumber those who think it was enough three times. The swing seems to indicate disillusionment with the government's response to a series of military provocations by the North.
[Buildup] [Public opinion]
Shell Fired 'by Mistake' into Demilitarized Zone
An artillery shell landed in the demilitarized zone south of the military demarcation line around 3 p.m. on Sunday. It had been mistakenly fired by an Army unit in Paju, Gyeonggi Province.
According to the military, the unit was conducting an emergency drill in its compound prompted by North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last week. An artillery man who mistook the drill for real combat fired the 155-mm shell, which has a range of 22 km.
It flew 14 km north to land on a hill on the southern side of the demilitarized zone, only 200 m from the military demarcation line. No casualties were reported, but the incident could have led to conflict between two Koreas.
The sudden sound of cannon also startled locals into inundating Army units and government offices with phone calls.
The Defense Ministry notified the North of the mistake through military communication lines about two hours after the incident.
N.Korea 'Has 180,000 Special Forces Ready to Cross into South'
North Korea operates 40,000 special forces troops, including the 11th or "Storm" Corps whose mission is to infiltrate South Korea and create havoc in case of war. It also has around 10,000 naval special forces and around 5,000 air force soldiers who can cross the border if a war breaks out.
The figures were revealed in a speech by former South Korean commander of special operations Kim Yun-suk to fellow veterans at the War Memorial in Seoul.
Kim said the Storm Corps, which has been trained to stir up confusion behind enemy lines, is composed of four light infantry, seven airborne and three sniper brigades. And the 4th Corps special forces, stationed on the Ongjin Peninsula close to South Korea's Baeknyeong Islands in the West Sea, consists of 600 scout troops, 600 naval reconnaissance soldiers and around 1,800 naval forces.
The North also operates a large amphibious landing force in the region similar to South Korea's Marines. Totaling 180,000 troops, North Korea has the largest number of special ops forces in the world. The 11th Corps accounts for 22 percent with 40,000 special forces troops, and 120,000 light infantry brigades make up 66 percent of the special forces. The reconnaissance brigade, which has been fingered in the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, accounts for around 6 percent of special forces, and the Navy and Air Force each have around 5,000 crack troops, which make up 3 percent.
"Ten thousand North Korean special forces are capable of infiltrating simultaneously through underground tunnels or aboard 260 hovercraft or submarines, while 175 AN-2 transport planes and 310 helicopters can transport another 10,000 troops," Kim said.
The former officer said the South needs to come up with measures to deal with the so-called asymmetric threat by creating a powerful special forces brigade, operating a special military branch that handles North Korea's irregular forces and boosting the number of anti-terrorism units and training.
email@example.com / Jun. 16, 2010 12:51 KST
Serial Number on N.Korean Shell Strengthens Cheonan Evidence
A handwritten serial number found on one of the 122 mm North Korean artillery shells that fell on Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday has reminded investigators of a key piece of evidence that implicated the North in the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan.
A similar handwritten serial number was found on debris from the torpedo that sank the Cheonan in March. The military is analyzing the artillery shell and has yet to determine the origin of the ink and how the serial number was applied.
Left: The handwritten serial number on one of the 122 mm North Korean artillery shells that fell on Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday; Right: The similar serial number on debris from the torpedo that sank the Navy corvette Cheonan in March. South Korean netizens said the find disproves skeptics who claimed that it makes no sense for North Korea to number high-tech ordnance with a magic marker, because it shows that the North does exactly that. Conspiracy theorists claimed that it was South Korean investigators who put the serial number on the torpedo to put the blame on North Korea. "They said any traces of magic marker on a torpedo should have disappeared in the heat of the blast, but how do they explain the clear, handwritten serial number this time?" one netizen asked.
But a military spokesman said more analysis of the writing and pattern on the artillery shell is needed.
[Evidence] [Cheonan] [Bizarre]
Saber rattling continues near NLL
Both N.Korea and S.Korea have deployed troops and dispatched weapons systems to areas along the NLL
» Behind a small Jangjae Island, North Korea’s naval artillery firing ports along the coast open when South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises begin, Nov. 28. (Photo by Rhee Jong-chan)
By Lee Se-young?
Tensions are heightening in the area around Yeonpyeong Island, with the confirmation that North Korean forces deployed multi-launch rocket systems (MLRSs) forward to a coastal location facing the island and opened additional naval artillery firing ports on Sunday, the first day of joint South Korea-U.S. exercises. The North Korean military was also reported to have stepped up its anti-air posture targeting aerial activity by South Korean fighter planes, with the forward deployment of SA-2 earth-to-air missiles in the area north of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong Islands.
“The North Korean military was found to have deployed some of its 122 mm MLRSs forward to an inland area near Kaemori, from which the attack on Yeonpyeong Island was launched, and opened additional 76.2 mm naval artillery firing ports besides the previous fourteen locations,” said a military official said Sunday. “The South Korean military is also stepping up its alertness posture to prepare for a potential provocation situation.”
N.Korea follows familiar pattern with statement of regret and blame
Analysts say the statement may have been in response to strong international criticism over targeting civilians
By Son Won-je, Staff Writer
Four days after launching an artillery strike on Yeonpyeong Island, North Korea said in an editorial statement in the state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) that if it is true that civilians were killed in the artillery strike, it was very regrettable. This is the first time the North Korean media has mention the killing of civilians in the strike and expressed regret, even if hypothetically. North Korea passed responsibility onto South Korea, however, saying that the responsibility rested with the South Korea’s inhumane treatment in which it created a human shield by placing civilians around
[Editorial] Diplomacy is the only realistic solution
The large-scale South Korea-U.S. West Sea joint military exercise in response to North Korea’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island began yesterday and will continue until Dec. 1. The atmosphere is one of increased tension surrounding the Korean Peninsula.
The exercise, which includes the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, may exert psychological pressure on North Korea, but it is not a way to resolve the current situation. On the contrary, it may easily cause new clashes between North Korea and South Korea or exacerbate political conditions on the peninsula by deepening the conflict between the United States and China. Under such circumstances, where a military solution is in reality impossible, there is ultimately no choice but to search for a diplomatic way out. The South Korea-U.S. joint military exercise must not become an obstacle to reaching a diplomatic solution.
[Joint US military] [Liberal]
[Editorial] The plight of the Yeonpyeong Island residents
Due to the North Korean coastal artillery shelling, all the residents of Yeonpyeong Island are leaving. They say only a handful remain. It must come as a huge blow to the residents of the island, who have lived there for years. Most are elderly, and have nowhere to go. They must stay in Incheon bathhouses and motels, passing each day with no promise of return.
South Korea Experiences a Stirring for Revenge
By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: November 27, 2010
INCHEON, South Korea — The explosions from North Korean artillery shells sent Hong Kwang-sun and other members of his construction crew rushing into the basement of their half-finished building on Yeonpyeong Island. As he ran, he saw two workers still standing outside just as another round of blasts engulfed the construction site in flames.
U.S. and South Korea Begin Joint Naval Exercises (November 28, 2010)
Week in Review: Asking China to Act Like the U.S. (November 28, 2010) The next day, searchers found the bodies of the two men. They were burned beyond recognition.
“We never thought they would attack civilians,” Mr. Hong said Saturday as he and other survivors sat somberly drinking soju, an alcoholic beverage, near a makeshift shrine to the two men in this South Korean port city. “North Korean soldiers have full stomachs from our support, and now they repay us by firing at us. Next time, we should repay them by shooting them back.”
Police probing Internet cafe praising North Korea
By Kang Shin-who
More alert than ever before, police have began investigating an Internet cafe for praising North Korea after the communist state committed a ruthless attack by shelling Yeonpyeong Island.
A number of compliments to North Korea were posted on the online community named “Cyber headquarters for people’s defense,” on Naver, the country’s No. 1 portal site. Members of the community have immediately drawn huge criticism online. A lot of angered netizens attacked the community with postings denouncing the cafe members. In response, the cafe manager removed all the critical postings.
According to the National Police Agency, the site is under investigation for violating the National Security Law, which prohibits praising or sympathizing with the communist state.
N.Korea in High Spirits
The mood of the North Korean regime has been boisterous since it attacked Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday, killing two marines and two civilians and wounding dozens of others. The North Korean military representative office at the truce village of Panmunjom claimed Thursday that "South Korea has violated the armistice agreement" and threatened to "launch more attacks." "Yeonpyeong Island has been punished," it added.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his son and heir apparent Kim Jong-un continue a whistle-stop tour. Following their visit to a duck and fish farm in South Hwanghae Province reported Monday and an inspection of Pyongyang Medical College reported Tuesday, they made another so-called on-the-spot guidance tour of glass and water plants in South Pyongan Province, the North Korean media reported Thursday.
At the water plant, Kim Jong-il reportedly expressed satisfaction with what the North quaintly calls CNC or "computer numerical control," meaning a modernization of production processes supposedly led by Kim Jong-un.
This shows a new confidence in Kim Jong-il, who hid in underground tunnels for 50-odd days during the early days of the Iraq War in March 2003 and for over 40 days in 2006 when the North test-fired a long-range missile. "Kim Jong-il only dreads the U.S.," said a senior North Korean defector. "He travels around the country holding the hand of his son since he believes Washington won't attack just because the North struck Yeonpyeong island."
Extent of NK damage remains uncertain
The coast along Ongjin, South Hwanghae Province, North Korea, seen from Yeonpyeong Island in the South. The dark patches show damages the North suffered when the South fired K9 howitzers in response to the North’s deadly attack on Tuesday. Korea Times photo by Bae Wu-han
By Lee Tae-hoon
The military announced Friday that its counterattack in response to North Korean shelling Tuesday damaged barracks in the North, but failed to confirm the extent of it.
“Despite our ongoing efforts, we have only identified the degree of damage in a limited area,” an official of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
The official, however, confirmed that the military had made “multiple hits” on coastal bases in the towns of Gaemeori and Mudo in North Korea.
“Fire broke out in Mudo and Gaemeori,” he said. “We have also identified a depressed area in a trench, which is assumed to be caused by shelling.”
The official also noted that the military has yet to confirm whether the North fired fuel-air shells, similar to thermobaric weapons, on Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea.
The North fired some 170 artillery and rocket rounds from the two military bases at Yeonpyeong, located roughly 12 to 13 kilometers away.
The South Korean military fired back with K9 self-propelled howitzers.
However, of the six K9 guns, only three were used as two were damaged by the North’s artillery fire, and one could not immediate respond because a dud shell blocked it, the official said.
Though only 80 rounds were fired from the South, less than half of what the North used, the impact would have been far greater than the North’s as each shell has a killing range of 50 square meters.
Shells from the North have a killing range of 15 to 30 square meters, according to the official.
Some experts argue that the South would have done far greater damage to the North, but satellite pictures or other images of the North’s coastal military bases show hardly any sign of damage to confirm their claims.
They estimate that dozens of North Korean soldiers would have been killed by the South’s counter strike.
Critics of this say that hardly any damage would have been caused in the two military bases in the North as most of their artillery units are located deep inside caves, and many of the 80 shells by the South may have missed their targets.
The North has remained silent over the extent of damage on their territory.
[Clash] [Military balance]
Seoul not safe from artillery attacks
By Bae Ji-sook
Seoul is never safe from North Korea’s artillery attacks such as the one that broke out on Yeonpyeong Island earlier this week, analysts say.
As the capital city is filled with skyscrapers and a complicated layout of roads, the severity of damage that could be caused by any military attack threatens to be even higher, they said.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, there are 3,919 underground shelters in the city including the underground floors of public organizations, local administration units, large buildings and metro stations. The specific address and information of the shelters are listed on www.safekorea.go.kr.
The shelters can accommodate more than twice Seoul’s current population of about 10 million. “There are also some air-raid shelters that were built during Japan’s colonial rule (1910-1945),” Seoul city spokesman Lee Jong-hyun said Friday.
However, observers express different opinions. They said these facilities do not guarantee safety enough in the event of an attack; the bombardment on Yeonpyeong destroyed buildings, burnt infrastructure and killed two civilians and two soldiers.
Moreover, in the event of a nuclear weapons attack, the current underground shelters might not be able to block the radioactive fallout and other life-threatening materials.
There are 23 nuclear-proof shelters with independent power plants, automatic pollution detectors, alarm systems and survival kits including food for two weeks nationwide, but none exist in Seoul. Moreover, the existing ones are designated as being intended for public organizations and their staff, practically banning access to civilians.
“Nuclear-proof shelters are independent spaces requiring a lot of money to build. Therefore, they are located in military facilities and within Cheong Wa Dae,” Lee said.
We are currently creating such facilities in the underground of the soon-to-be-built City Hall in central Seoul. We hope to build more such facilities,” Lee said.
S.Korea relaunches psychological warfare against DPRK
Source: Xinhua [09:05 November 27 2010] Comments South Korea flew around 400,000 anti- Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the inter-Korean border, local media reported on Friday, citing a government source.
The move, a sign of resumption of psychological campaign against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), came after an artillery skirmish between the two sides in waters off the west coast of the divided Korean Peninsula Tuesday, which claimed at least four South Koreans lives, including two civilians.
N.Korean Shelling 'Aimed for Maximum Damage to Lives, Property'
North Korean coastal artillery batteries fired a considerable number of 122-mm Multiple Launch Rocket System shells that can kill or wound people or animals at Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday. The shells have an extra-high penetration capability and are filled with special gunpowder that causes massive conflagrations.
A military source on Thursday said analysis of about 20 unexploded shells collected from the island showed that many of them are not ordinary 76.2-mm coastal artillery shells but 122-mm MLRS shells.
These so-called fuel-air shells have deadly killing power, generating high heat and high voltage. Military authorities believe that the North has deployed them warfare-ready since 1985.
A K-9 Marine artillery base on Yeonpyeong Island under attack by North Korea on Tuesday /Courtesy of the Ministry of Defense Analysis of reconnaissance aircraft photographs revealed that the North deployed a 122-mm MLRS battalion of its Fourth Army Corps at Kaemori in Kangryong, South Hwanghae Province on the day of the attack. One battalion has 18 MLRS vehicles.
This shows how carefully the North premeditated the provocation. Using such shells against civilians lays the North wide open to international condemnation.
Meanwhile, the North Korean military's liaison office at the truce village of Panmunjom on Thursday wrote to the UN Command turning down a proposal for talks about the attack. "The West Sea of Korea has turned into a sea of conflict due to the Northern Limit Line drawn arbitrarily by the U.S. in our territorial waters." The NLL is the de-facto maritime border.
"What took place shows that it is South Korea that has violated the armistice agreement and it is the U.S. who has sown the seeds of conflict in the West Sea," it said. "If the U.S. military wants to see tensions on the Korean Peninsula reduced, it should prevent South Korea from launching military provocations, such as maritime incursions and artillery fire to defend the NLL."
It called a regular South Korean military drill in the West Sea a "de facto act of war," adding, "Yeonpyeong Island was subject to severe punishment according to our military's self-defense measures."
S.Korea Must Stop Acting Like a Paper Tiger
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is testing South Korea's mettle. His father Kim Il-sung did not hesitate to do the same thing 60 years ago with continued provocations along the 38th parallel separating the two Koreas. At an internal meeting of North Korean officials, he said, "We can achieve reunification in a month if the People's Liberation Army advances south." He then went to the Soviet Union to meet Joseph Stalin to tell him he was confident of bringing the South to its knees and left with Moscow's blessing.
If South Korea had made Kim Il-sung realize that a massive reprisal awaited him once he made the wrong move, North Korean troops would not have been able to invade the South or would have at least overhauled their war plans. History is full of cases where a failure to deal sternly with minor incursions ended up triggering a major war.
South Korea's Gross National Income is more than 36 times greater than North Korea's, and its trade volume more than 250 times. No matter how much money North Korea tries to secretly funnel into military spending, South Korea's defense budget is still five to six times greater. But defense spending is not everything when it comes to national security. There are numerous examples in history where an economically inferior country was able to defeat a far bigger one. The most important thing is the resolve and actions a country's leader, its troops and public show in defending their homeland.
[Military balance] [Zero]
The Devastating Power of N.Korea's MLRS Artillery
The 122-mm Multiple Launch Rocket System shells North Korea fired on Yeongpyeong Island on Tuesday are fatal weapons that can kill people and devastate large areas with an extra-high penetration capability. They are among the weapons most feared by soldiers.
During World War II, the Soviet Union used a version called the Katyusha or "Stalin Organ" against the German forces, and in 1991, the U.S. military terrorized Iraqi soldiers by deploying a modern-day version of the MLRS. It is extremely rare for a country to use such weapons in peacetime and target unarmed civilians, which experts say deserves international condemnation.
[Double standards] [Military balance]
Military Knew of N.Korean Artillery Move Before Attack
The North Korean military moved a battalion of 122-mm Multiple Launch Rocket System shells from the Fourth Corps to a coastal artillery base in Kaemori in Kangryong, South Hwanghae Province just before shelling Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday, but despite detecting the move in advance, the South Korean military fired back at the base along the shoreline in Mudo, not Kaemori. This raises concerns about the ability of the military to deal with attacks.
A senior military said several hours before the shelling began the North Korean military deployed one battery of six 122-mm MLRS shells and later two batteries of 12 112-mm MLRS shells. It also carried out preparatory shooting practice just before the attack. "As far as I know the South Korean military was aware of this," he said.
The 122-mm MLRS are not stationed at the North's coastal artillery bases and had to be moved to Kaemori, so the activity should have put the South Korean military on high alert.
A photo taken from Yeonpyeong Island on Thursday (bottom) reveals a newly built guard post and road near the Kaemori artillery base in Kangryong, South Hwanghae Province in North Korea that are not seen in a photo of the base taken in November last year (top). But forces on the ground were not even aware that the MLRS shells were being fired at South Korean territory in the initial wave of the attack between 2:34 and 2:46 p.m., and they responded by firing at Mudo, not Kaemori.
Believing that K-9 self-propelled howitzers would not be able to carry out an accurate strike on North Korea's coastal artillery base, the South Korean military focused on targeting command posts and barracks, so until it confirmed the location of North Korea's MLRS using radar system just before the second phase of shelling, North Korea was able to fire with impunity.
The military authority has not been able to give a clear explanation what weapons were used by North Korea. It initially announced that coastal artillery was used and then changed the story to a mixture of coastal artillery and howitzers.
Seoul to Change Rules of Engagement with N.Korea
The government on Thursday announced a first set of responses to Tuesday's North Korean artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island.
The main focus is the five islands in the West Sea close to the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border. "This type of provocation [by North Korea] can happen again at any time. We must strengthen our alert, especially in the West Sea area," President Lee Myung-bak said in an emergency meeting with top security and economic officials. "Vulnerable areas like the five West Sea islands must be thoroughly prepared with the latest equipment to counter localized provocations and asymmetric warfare threats."
Defense Minister Sacked
Kim Tae-young President Lee Myung-bak on Thursday accepted the resignation of Defense Minister Kim Tae-young. Cheong Wa Dae says Kim tendered his resignation, but he was apparently sacked for a series of failures by the military in recent months and a blunder in the National Assembly on Wednesday quoting Lee as allegedly ordering the military to avoid escalation after North Korea's attack on Yeonpyeong Island.
"In the afternoon today, President Lee decided to accept Defense Minister Kim Tae-young's resignation," Presidential chief of staff Yim Tae-hee told reporters. "Kim offered to resign on May 1 following the Cheonan incident, but the president delayed the decision due to a host of pending issues, including follow-up measures to the sinking and defense ministerial talks with the U.S."
Yim said Kim's resignation was accepted with the aim of reforming the military. Lee apparently spoke with Prime Minister Kim Hwang-shik about a replacement for Kim and plans to announce it on Friday. The minister has been instructed to watch over the handover and ensure that there is no vacuum created by his resignation, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Kim Byoung-gi, the presidential secretary for defense affairs, will be replaced as well.
But a ruling-party official said, "The president was very angry about Minister Kim's comments at the National Assembly on Wednesday, saying his first instruction included an order to avoid escalation. Kim is being held to account for causing an uproar by misquoting the president when he wasn't even present at the command center."
Seoul to Boost Defenses on West Sea Islands
The government on Thursday decided to reinforce military capabilities on the five northernmost islands including Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea. The rules of engagement will be revised so the military can more actively respond to North Korean provocations like Tuesday's artillery attack on Yeonpyeong.
The government announced the plans after an emergency security and economic review meeting at Cheong Wa Dae chaired by President Lee Myung-bak.
Yeonpyeon Island residents chronicle attack and aftermath
Many residents have evacuated, while some have remained behind to tend to their homes or because they lack financial resources to leave
» Yeonpyeong residents take shelter and stay crouched in a basement room as they stay up all night in the aftermath of the attack on their island by North Korea, Nov. 24. (Photo by Park Jong-shik)
By Lee Seung-jun
At 5 a.m. Wednesday, black smoke covered the entire island of Yeonpyeong. On the mountain in the middle of the island, fires still raged in places. Clearly stuck in the asphalt of a road in the north of the island was a soot-covered, unexploded round. The nearby container office of a construction site was half-destroyed, while most of the stores of the central market area of Yeonpyeong-ri were simply shells with their windows blown out.
The pre-dawn village was quiet. The residents had all taken escaped to shelters, while in the ruined homes, only dogs who had lost their owners barked into the emptiness. Even in the burned out homes with broken windows, embers glowed in the darkness. In the empty homes were signs of the urgency of the time when the shells fell. Two uneaten bowls of jajangmyeon noodles and a bowl of jjambbong noddle soup were blown over. In a courtyard, cabbages and other kimchi-making ingredients were scattered about, the women having fled in the middle of making kimchi.
At that time, some 30 villages in a 15-pyeong shelter were fending off the cold with Styrofoam spread out on the ground and military blankets. Nobody could sleep comfortably. Na Yeong-ok, 46, who left the shelter in the morning to collect some household items, turned on her flashlight with a stiff expression, and said how frightened and insecure she felt.
Na said, “When the West Sea naval battles take place, I did not feel the effects since they took place at sea, but I had no idea an artillery strike could be so scary.”
[Column] Back to the basics on national security
By Song Min-soon, National Assembly Lawmaker, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
North Korea must take full responsibility for its outrageous indiscriminate artillery attack against civilians and military alike. North Korea is not a rational organization in any sense, and simply expecting something rational to come out of it is nothing more than a reckless waste of time. It is time now to look comprehensively at peace and national security postures on the Korean Peninsula.
All four pillars sustaining the Republic of Korea’s security are showing cracks.
[Editorial] Time for Pyongyang to take responsibility for attack
It has finally emerged that civilians were indeed killed in North Korea’s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island. Yesterday afternoon, a joint investigative team conducting recovery efforts at the scene discovered the bodies of two people who perished at a construction site during the shelling. Workers there had fled the scene after a shell fired by the North Korean forces landed on the site, but two of them ultimately lost their lives. It is truly a tragic development.
North Korea’s attack is unacceptable, for the obvious reason that it is the first attack on South Korean soil since the armistice that ended the Korean War, but even more so because artillery was fired indiscriminately on civilian residential areas. This is a truly inhumane and barbaric outrage that cannot be justified on any grounds. And it ultimately produced the worst-case scenario of civilian fatalities.
'NK heir Kim Jong-un masterminded artillery strike'
By Lee Tae-hoon
Kim Jong-un, the heir apparent of North Korea, has developed a strong interest and knowledge of artillery and appears to have planned Tuesday’s unprecedented shelling of South Korean territory, a North Korea expert said Thursday.
The surprise artillery attack, which took the lives of four South Koreans, did not take place by accident ? it happened after extensive preparations and a round of military drills under the supervision of Kim, Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute, said in a parliamentary forum.
South Korea Reassesses Its Defenses After Attack
Newsis, via Reuters
A South Korean Marine officer stood in front of a military facility on Thursday that had been hit by a shell fired by North Korea on Yeonpyeong island.
By MARTIN FACKLER and MARK McDONALD
Published: November 25, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — Responding to growing public criticism after a deadly North Korean attack, President Lee Myung-bak accepted the resignation of his defense minister on Thursday and announced changes in the military’s rules of engagement to make it easier for South Korea to strike back with greater force, especially if civilians are threatened.
he government also announced plans to increase the number of troops and heavy weapons on Yeonpyeong Island, where two marines and two civilians died Tuesday in an artillery fusillade from the North. On Friday, President Lee initially put forward a security adviser, Lee Hee-won, as the new defense minister. But the government later pulled back on that announcement.
But Mr. Lee, who came to office two years ago vowing to get tough with the North, has little maneuvering room in formulating a response. While the attack appears to have pushed anti-North Korean sentiment here to its highest level in years, there is little public support for taking military action against the North that might lead to an escalation of hostilities.
“North Korea has nothing to lose, while we have everything to lose (sic),” said Kang Won-taek, a professor of politics at Seoul National University. “Lee Myung-bak has no choice but to soften his tone to keep this country peaceful. It is not an appealing choice, but it is the only realistic choice.”
North Korean Radio Explains Clash
By ROBERT MACKEY
On Wednesday, North Korea’s international shortwave radio service, Voice of Korea, broadcasting in English to the outside world, put its spin on Tuesday’s exchange of fire between the two Koreas across their contested sea border.
As Steve Herman, a correspondent for Voice of America in Seoul, points out on Twitter, a subtitled recording of the North Korean broadcast was posted online by Martyn Williams, a technology journalist based in Tokyo.
KPA Supreme Command Issues Communique
Pyongyang, November 23 (KCNA) -- The Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army Tuesday released the following communique:
The south Korean puppet group perpetrated such reckless military provocation as firing dozens of shells inside the territorial waters of the DPRK side around Yonphyong Islet in the West Sea of Korea from 13:00 on Nov. 23 despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK while staging the war maneuvers for a war of aggression on it codenamed Hoguk, escalating the tension on the Korean Peninsula.
The above-said military provocation is part of its sinister attempt to defend the brigandish "northern limit line," while frequently infiltrating its naval warships into the territorial waters of the DPRK side under the pretext of "intercepting fishing boats."
The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK standing guard over the inviolable territorial waters of the country took such decisive military step as reacting to the military provocation of the puppet group with a prompt powerful physical strike.
It is a traditional mode of counter-action of the army of the DPRK to counter the firing of the provocateurs with merciless strikes.
Islanders Deal with Devastation After N.Korean Attack
The interior of a house on Yeonpyeong Island destroyed by North Korea’s artillery strike on Tuesday A village in south Yeonpyeong Island that is home to 820 households was devastated by the North Korea's shelling of the island on Tuesday. Fourteen of 20 houses that caught fire burned down completely. The post office, police station and six other facilities were also burned to the ground
Kim Jong-il's Visit to Coast Raises Suspicions
A seemingly innocuous picture released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency recently showing leader Kim Jong-il and his son Jong-un visiting a duck and a fish farm has fuelled speculation that Tuesday's attack on Yeonpyeong Island was approved from the very top.
Next to Kim father and son in the picture stands Kim Myong-guk, a four-star general and chief of the People's Army General Staff in charge of military operations.
The farm is in Ryongyon, which faces Baeknyeong Island and is a strategic post with a heavy concentration of artillery batteries -- just like Kangryong, from where North Korea fired at the island.
Military Under Fire for Response to N.Korean Attack
The South Korean military bombarded barracks near North Korean coastal artillery batteries in response to the North's attack on Yeonpyeong Island Tuesday instead of the batteries themselves, which it said would have been "difficult."
In a press briefing Wednesday, a Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman said, "When the military fired back with K-9 self-propelled guns, it targeted not the North Korean Army's coastal artillery batteries but their barracks."
He said it would have been "difficult" for howitzers "to hit North Korea's coastal artillery batteries directly because they are positioned in caves. Therefore, we considered pulverizing auxiliary facilities such as barracks so that they can't operate the batteries properly."
But that may have twice allowed the North Koreans to continue firing shells for nearly an hour Tuesday. Some experts say that F-15K and KF-16 fighters, which were scrambled in the attack, should have launched a surgical strike at the batteries.
A home has been reduced to rubble after North Korea's artillery assault on Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday. /Courtesy of Ongjin-gun Office In a session of the National Assembly's Defense Committee Wednesday, Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Hak-song said, "The North's second attack was a clear act of war. We should have let F-15s bombard their batteries."
Defense Minister Kim Tae-young replied, "Under the current rules of engagement, we're supposed to respond to enemy fire with double the amount of firepower based on a corresponding weapons system." He pledged to revise the rules of engagement so the military "can respond strongly in the future."
But the military is once again accused of responding in a way that fell short of even the limits set by the rules of engagement. The North Korean batteries fired a total of about 170 shells, as against a mere 80 shells the South Korean military fired back.
The JCS the previous day said the North fired "scores" of shells. But in the morning press briefing Wednesday, the JCS spokesman said, "It was difficult at that time to tally the exact number of North Korean military's shells in a short time. Our response was based on the combat sense and judgment of the commanding officer of the military unit stationed on Yeonpyeong Island. He decided it would be appropriate to fire 80 shells in response."
But overnight analysis led to the conclusion that the North fired about 150 shells during the first round and about 20 in the second. In the first round, about 90 shells landed in the water and about 60 others fell on artillery positions and a civilian village on the island, the JCS spokesman added.
Meanwhile, President Lee Myung-bak instructed the Cabinet to study whether the rules of engagement must be revised to respond "more actively" to future provocations.
[Clash] [Military balance]
S.Korea 'Outgunned' in West Sea
North Korea's artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island has raised concerns that the South does not have the firepower needed to effectively defend its five islands off the west coast against the North's attacks. Military officers are criticizing top brass of failing to bolster defensive capabilities in the West Sea even though the area has become a powder keg with repeated North Korean provocations around the Northern Limit Line.
[Clash] [Military balance]
N.Korea 'Gambled on Other Countries' Reluctance to Act'
North Korea has heightened the level of provocations against South Korea because it has found the weak spot that prevents South Korea, the U.S. and China from acting, experts speculated Wednesday.
"The regime must have judged that there would be no counterattack that could threaten it" no matter how many artillery shells it rained on Yeonpyeong Island, because South Korea and the war-weary U.S. do not want the Korean Peninsula engulfed in a conflict, and China does not want the North to collapse, a South Korean security official speculated.
Korean ties fall foul of diplomatic froideur
By Christian Oliver in Seoul
Published: November 24 2010 15:39 | Last updated: November 24 2010 17:12
Relations between the two Koreas hit a nadir in a Johannesburg lavatory at the opening ceremony of the football World Cup in South Africa.
North Korea’s ambassador to Pretoria suddenly grabbed his South Korean counterpart by the arm and threatened that Seoul would face unspecified consequences unless it stopped accusing Pyongyang of sinking a warship, the Cheonan, in March.
This undiplomatic incident illustrates how few outlets there are for the two Koreas to communicate directly and how low their level of mutual understanding is.
Official dialogue has evaporated and so any discussion now hinges on such chance meetings. After North Korea bombarded a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing four people and injuring more than a dozen, Seoul has moved to sever the few, largely symbolic, ties it has left.
South Korea said on Wednesday it would suspend aid to the destitute, starving North but there is very little left to cut. This year, monthly aid shipments – mainly food – have been worth only about $500,000. This spiked last month to $7m as the South permitted more Red Cross aid after severe floods wracked the North.
Slashing aid in response to the shelling is a sign of visceral anger from Seoul, which had always argued it would separate humanitarian concerns from politics.
Kim Doo-hyun, director of a South Korean group that sends children’s winter clothes to the North, argues the stance is wrong. “Even though I understand the government is furious about North Korea’s attack and public sentiment is not good either, I still think humanitarian aid should be continued, despite all this, in order to overcome the current difficulties.”
Striking another blow to humanitarian ties, Seoul also scrapped talks to organise reunions of families separated by the division of the peninsula in 1945 and the Korean war of 1950-1953. These are emotionally charged events in which relatives meet family members they had sometimes assumed were dead.
North Korea severely criticised Seoul’s decision, saying the spirit of goodwill created by reunions earlier this month “was now once again in danger due to the South’s evil and ignorant war provocation”.
After the sinking of the Cheonan in March, South Korea stopped just under half of its trade with the North, including imports such as shellfish and zinc. North Korea’s most valuable export – sand – had already been halted.
The only significant commercial tie left is an investment enclave in the North Korean city of Kaesong, where South Korean managers run small factories – and hold intermittent talks with counterparts form the North.
Many high-ranking South Korean diplomats working on the North’s nuclear dossier confess they have never met a North Korean official. Apart from the multilateral forum of the United Nations, North and South Korean officials almost never see each other.
North and South Korea talked far more under Seoul’s two previous liberal administrations but South Korea’s ruling conservatives argue these negotiations only bought Pyongyang more time to build atomic weapons.
Even the passage of South Koreans to Kaesong is currently restricted as a result of the Cheonan attack but South Korean officials admit it would be difficult to close the complex. Although they created Kaesong to pressure the North into adopting some capitalist reforms, Pyongyang is now using the factories as leverage itself; implicitly threatening to take hundreds of South Koreans hostage if relations sour.
Kaesong was initially used as a forum for cultural interaction. Scholars working on a joint dictionary of differing North and South Korean terminology have been meeting there since 2005 to chew over their definitions. But even these meetings ended after the loss of the Cheonan.
“We may now miss our 2014 deadline because we have halted meetings since the Cheonan incident,” said Han Yong-un, head of the dictionary project.
Defining words may become truly academic if dialogue between the Koreas completely freezes.
Additional reporting by Kang Buseong in Seoul
.Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010. You may
[Trade] [SK NK policy][Sanctions]
Artillery firing in self-defense: DPRK
Source: Xinhua [08:35 November 25 2010] Comments A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said in a statement Wednesday that DPRK military measures taken in the exchange of artillery fire with South Korea on November 23 were in self-defense, the official news agency KCNA reported.
According to the statement, despite the DPRK military repeatedly warning South Korea that if its shells fell into the territorial waters of DPRK, it would retaliate, South Korea still fired dozens of shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK, openly provoking the DPRK.
The DPRK immediately took self-defense measures, firing at South Korea's artillery position the Yonphyong Islet, according to the spokesman.
Although South Korea said its artillery fire was southward from Yonphyong Islet, the islet is an island in the territorial waters of DPRK. Thus, no matter what it was aimed toward, all of the shells would fall into the territorial waters of the DPRK.
If the DPRK hadn't taken any measures, it would have meant the waters around Yonphyong Islet are territorial waters of South Korea, the spokesman said.
The U.S and its allies and some international institutions accused the DPRK without truth of the event, pouring oil on the flames, the spokesman added.
Despite the DPRK cherishing peace and stability on the peninsula, and keeping super self-restraint to the situation, the army of the DPRK is ready to safeguard justice, the spokesman said.
According to the KCNA, South Korea shot toward the waters of the DPRK with dozens of shells around Yonphyong Islet in the West Sea of Korea at 13:00 local time on November 23.
The DPRK army immediately beat back the South Korean military provocation with determined military measures, the spokesman said.
The Supreme Command of Korean People's Army (KPA) of DPRK issued a statement on November 23 warning the south that the DPRK would take merciless military counter-actions without any hesitation if South Korea dared to intrude into the waters of the DPRK.
According to South Korean media, the Yonphyong Islet in South Korean waters suffered artillery fire from the DPRK side on November 23 and there were casualties.
It was reported that a military exercise named "Hoguk" was held by S. Korea in the West Sea of Korea from November 22 to November 30.
The DPRK and South Korea have a dispute on the borderline in the West Sea of Korea. South Korea unilaterally set a "north border" between the five islands of the West Sea and the west coastline of the DPRK, which never admitted this border. The warships of the two countries have exchanged fire three times -- in 1999, 2002 and 2009
Statement Released by Spokesman of DPRK Foreign Ministry
Pyongyang, November 24 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry Wednesday issued the following statement:
As already reported by the Supreme Command of the KPA, the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK on Nov. 23 took a decisive self-defensive measure to cope with the enemy's reckless military provocation of firing shells inside the territorial waters of the DPRK side around Yonphyong Islet in the West Sea of Korea.
The army of the DPRK warned several times that if even a single shell of the enemy is fired inside the territorial waters of the DPRK, it will take a prompt retaliatory strike in connection with the live shell firing drill they planned to stage from Yonphyong Islet while conducting the ill-famed war maneuvers for a war of aggression against the DPRK codenamed Hoguk.
At 8:00 a.m. on Nov. 23, the very day the incident occurred, the head of the delegation of the DPRK side to the inter-Korean military talks sent a telephone message to the head of the delegation of the enemy side once again strongly urging it to cancel the plan for staging the above-said firing drill in the waters around the islet, the sensitive waters.
This notwithstanding, the enemy committed such an extremely reckless military provocation as firing dozens of shells from the islet inside the territorial waters of the DPRK side from around 13:00.
The enemy fired shells from the islet which is so close to the territory of the DPRK that it is within each other's eyeshot despite the fact that there are so many mountains and rivers, sea waters and islets in south Korea. This powder-reeking saber-rattling cannot be construed otherwise than a politically motivated provocation.
The enemy is claiming that they fired shells southward from the islet in a bid not to get on the nerves of the DPRK but Yonphyong Islet is located deep inside the territorial waters of the DPRK away from the maritime military demarcation line. If live shells are fired from the islet, they are bound to drop inside the territorial waters of the DPRK side no matter in which direction they are fired because of such geographical features.
The ulterior aim sought by the enemy is to create the impression that the DPRK side recognized the waters off the islet as their "territorial waters", in case that there was no physical counter-action on the part of the former.
Herein lies the crafty and vicious nature of the enemy's provocation.
The army of the DPRK took such a self-defensive measure as making a prompt powerful strike at the artillery positions from which the enemy fired the shells as it does not make an empty talk.
This incident is one more dangerous development which took place because of the illegal "northern limit line" unilaterally fixed by Clark, UN forces commander, as he pleased on Aug. 30, 1953 after the conclusion of the Korean Armistice Agreement.
The U.S., its followers and some bosses of international bodies should drop such bad habit as thoughtlessly accusing somebody before learning about the truth about the incident.
If they shield south Korea, the criminal, without principle, just for being their ally, this is little short of feeding oil to the fire.
The DPRK that sets store by the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula is now exercising superhuman self-control but the artillery pieces of the army of the DPRK, the defender of justice, remain ready to fire.
Wrong country blamed for artillery exchange on Korean peninsula
By Stephen Gowans
November 24, 2010
While North Korea has been blamed for Tuesday’s exchange of artillery fire on the Korean peninsula, a close reading of news reports shows that it was South Korea that created a tinderbox and then provided the spark.
The incident happened along the Northern Line Limit, a Western sea border unilaterally drawn by the United States at the end of the Korean War and never accepted by the North. The Northern Line Limit has been the site of a number of skirmishes between ROK and DPRK naval forces.
[Clash] [Context] [SK NK policy] [Buildup]
Decoding Korea: Using Context to Explain the Artillery Clash
Reading an obituary of Chalmers Johnson – the American East Asia expert who moved from being a Cold War warrior to a trenchant critic of US imperialism – I was taken with his stress on the importance of context. Talking about the need to strip away the lies of government he wrote ‘The concept ‘blowback’ does not just mean retaliation for things our government has done to and in foreign countries. It refers to retaliation for the numerous illegal operations we have carried out abroad that were kept totally secret from the American public. This means that when the retaliation comes—as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001—the American public is unable to put the events in context. So they tend to support acts intended to lash out against the perpetrators, thereby most commonly preparing the ground for yet another cycle of blowback’.
As with 9/11 so with the latest incident on the Korean peninsula..
[Clash] [Context] [SK NK policy] [Buildup]
Seoul Warns of 'Severe Punishment' Over N.Korean Attack
North Korea on Tuesday fired scores of coastal artillery and howitzer shells on Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea, killing two South Korean marines, wounding 16 soldiers and three civilians, and damaging homes and facilities. This was the first time since the Korean War that the North has fired artillery shells on a civilian area in South Korea.
President Lee Myung-bak warned the North could launch further provocations because its military" is still on the offensive. I believe we should punish them severely to a point where they will never think of another attack." Lee was speaking during a visit to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The government called the attack a "clear armed provocation." Lee later told ministers in charge of foreign affairs and security to "respond firmly beyond the rules of engagement," according to a government spokesman.
Thick smoke rises above Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday afternoon. /Courtesy of a resident of the island The South Korean military fired back some 80 K-9 self-propelled howitzer shells at the North Korean coastal artillery batteries. The two militaries exchanged fire for about an hour.
According to the JCS, the North Korean shells were fired from Kaemori and Mudo, both in Kangryong, Hwanghae Province, from 2:34 to 2:55 p.m. and from 3:10 to 3:41 p.m. Many landed on a military camp but others on a civilian village on the island. Flames and thick columns of smoke were seen rising above the village and a nearby mountain. "The North must have carefully premeditated the provocation against the camp," a JCS officer speculated. (sic)
Locals were evacuated to shelters on the island, and military and police are assessing the damage. The JCS issued the highest Defcon level and increased the level of Watchcon, a five-stage surveillance alert, from 3 to 2. It also raised the alert for all military forces across the country.
North Korea claims the South Korea fired first since an annual drill was underway. "Despite our repeated warnings, South Korea fired dozens of shells... and we've taken strong military action immediately," the official Korean Central News Agency said.
But JCS spokesman Lee Bung-woo denied this, "Our military carried out its regular maritime fire drill not northward but southward (sic)
in the West Sea. Firing artillery shells on a civilian area under this pretext is clearly an illegal act and violation of the armistice."
Why Did N.Korea Attack?
North Korea fired artillery shells on a South Korean island on Tuesday killing two marines just days after revealing a large uranium-enrichment facility to visiting U.S. nuclear experts. Experts agree that the move was a planned provocation.
While the attack on the Navy corvette Cheonan in March took place by surprise under cover of night, the large-scale artillery assault on Yeonpyeong Island happened in broad daylight. Both military installations and civilian homes (sic) were targeted.
N.Korea Cites S.Korean Drill as Excuse for Attack
North Korea in a telegram on Tuesday morning criticized an annual South Korean defense drill now underway. The same afternoon the North Korean military fired on Yeonpyeong Island.
An official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "At around 8:20 a.m. on Tuesday, North Korea sent a telegram that said they would not sit idly by and watch if South Korea fire at North Korean waters during the military training." North Korea already criticized the drill on Nov. 17 on the website of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland and again on Monday when the drill began.
But the military dismissed North Korea's claims, saying an artillery firing drill by the Marine Corps that took place in Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday had nothing to do with the annual drill but was a part of monthly training there. Moreover, the drill the North cited as an excuse for the attack is an annual routine drill which has been conducted by the South Korean military since 1996.
A spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "The training was directed at South Korean waters to the southwest (sic) of Yeonpyeong Island, and the training site had been announced already through the international network of communication of merchant ships."
Bombardment increases Korea tension
By Christian Oliver and Kang Buseong in Seoul, and Daniel Dombey in Washington
Published: November 23 2010 07:28 | Last updated: November 23 2010 19:28
Smoke rises from South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island after the assault by North Korea
Tensions on the divided Korean peninsula rose to their highest level in more than two decades after Pyongyang bombarded a South Korean island, killing two servicemen and seriously injuring more than a dozen people, including civilians.
Additional reporting by Jamil Anderlini in Beijing, Mure Dickie in Tokyo and Harvey Morris in New York
A Day After Island Shelling, Anxiety Settles in Seoul
By MARK McDONALD
Published: November 24, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — The forests on distant Yeonpyeong Island were ablaze on Wednesday, one day after a ferocious artillery exchange between North and South Korean military units. But to many residents of Seoul, the violent attack on the tiny island seemed largely contained and unthreatening.
.“I was talking with a friend this morning and we wondered why we weren’t more concerned,” a Seoul restaurant owner, Pyun Sung-ja, said on Wednesday. “I guess it’s because the area of the shelling is so far from here. It feels like it happened in another country.”
Was N.Korea's Attack an Act of War?
Experts are arguing how to define North Korea's artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea under international law. Many believe it can be seen as part of a war of attrition since it is limited to the island with deliberate political purposes. The North's sinking of the South Korean navy ship Cheonan in March would also fall into this category
Islanders tell of terror as N.Korean shells land
By Lim Chang-Won
SEOUL, Tuesday 23 November 2010 (AFP) - Residents of a South Korean frontline border island described scenes of terror Tuesday as dozens of North Korean shells landed, killing one marine and injuring 13 others.
"Some time after our own military staged an artillery exercise, shells from the North started falling into our island," said Woo Soo-Woo, 62, a guest house owner on Yeonpyeong island near the flashpoint Yellow Sea border.
The Cheonan Incident: Skepticism Abounds
By Peter Certo, Greg Chaffin, Hye-Eun Kim, November 15, 2010
On the night of March 26, 2010, the South Korean naval vessel ROKS Cheonan split in half and sunk. Forty-six sailors lost their lives. In order to determine the cause, the South Korean government created the Joint Investigation Group (JIG), with representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, and Sweden, among others. The JIG has since issued its findings in stages, culminating with the release of the official report on September 12, 2010, concluding that a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine sank the Cheonan.
Despite the JIG’s goal of providing definitive proof of the cause of the incident, public skepticism has only increased. Indeed, opposition politicians, professors and several media outlets have expressed doubt in the conclusion advanced by the official report. In a poll commissioned by Seoul University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, only 32.5 percent of South Koreans expressed confidence in the report’s conclusions.
There are several sources of public skepticism, particularly from the scientific community. Furthermore, the secretive attitude adopted by the Lee government, its heavy-handed approach in dealing with the incident, and its reluctance to address or even allow for questions or concerns have served to fuel skepticism and allowed for conspiracy theories to abound. This annotation will address the pros and cons of the various theories behind the Cheonan’s sinking.
Conflict on the Korean Peninsula
North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near their disputed border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident raises several questions, not the least of which is whether Pyongyang is attempting to move the real “red line” for conventional weapons engagements, just as it has managed to move the limit of “acceptable” behavior regarding its nuclear program.
Special Topic Page
Conflict on the Korean Peninsula
North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), their disputed western border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident damaged as many as 100 homes and thus far has killed two South Korean soldiers with several others, including some civilians, wounded. The South Korean government convened an emergency Cabinet meeting soon after the incident and called for the prevention of escalation. It later warned of “stern retaliation” if North Korea launches additional attacks. Pyongyang responded by threatening to launch additional strikes, and accused South Korea and the United States of planning to invade North Korea, in reference to the joint Hoguk military exercises currently under way in different locations across South Korea.
The incident is the latest in a series of provocations by Pyongyang near the NLL this year following the sinking of the South Korean warship ChonAn in March.
Read more: Is North Korea Moving Another 'Red Line'? | STRATFOR
[NLL] [MISCOM] [Conflict] [Inversion]
North Korea Fires Rockets at South
ASIA NEWS NOVEMBER 23, 2010, 3:05 P.M. ET North Korea Fires Rockets at South
Brazen attack on island near disputed waters kills two marines, prompts return fire as other nations call for calm
By EVAN RAMSTAD And JAEYEON WOO
SEOUL—North Korea fired artillery at a South Korean island near a disputed western maritime border Tuesday, killing two South Korean marines in a surprise barrage that kindled global worries about worsening relations between the countries.
Victor Cha, Director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University, talks to Simon Constable about the implications of today's artillery rocket attack by North Korea on a South Korean island and whether it will lead to a full-scale war.
AM Report: North Korea Fires Artillery at South South Korean footage, reaction A South Korean military unit on the island returned fire, while South Korean military officials scrambled fighter jets. At least 16 marines were injured, military officials said. Three civilians were injured, and the island's 1,200 residents were sent scrambling for bomb shelters.
"The whole neighborhood is on fire," said, Na Young-ok, a resident of the island, called Yeonpyeong, from a bomb shelter about an hour after the shelling began.
South Korean officials condemned North Korea and warned that it would respond in kind to further provocations, while South Korean President Lee Myung-bak convened an emergency meeting of defense and security agencies.
"The attack is a sheer act of provocation. Moreover, shooting indiscriminately on civilians cannot be forgiven," said Hong Sang-pyo, spokesman for Mr. Lee. "Our military reacted immediately according to our combat rules. We will act sternly against any more provocation. North Korea should take the responsibility for this."
North Korea's official media late Tuesday said South Korea's military fired artillery into water on the North's side of the maritime border while conducting a drill, and that in response it fired the artillery at Yeonpyeong.
DPRK fires at S Korean island, killing one soldier
Source: Xinhua [15:35 November 23 2010] Comments
Smoke is seen at Yeonpyeong island near the border against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), in South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010. Photo: Xinhua/AFP
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired Tuesday scores of artillery onto a South Korean island and into waters off the west coast of the divided peninsula, killing a South Korean soldier and prompting a return fire, officials in Seoul said.
Reportedly fired at 2:34 p.m. local time, some shells landed on South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island near a tense western maritime border between the two former wartime rivals. Apart from one reported death, several residents and soldiers have also been injured, according to media reports.
South Korea fired back in response, and the military is now put on a heightened alert, officials said. Media reports said the military also deployed fighter jets to the Yellow Sea in deterrence against further provocation.
South Korea, though taken aback, seems wary of further escalation. President Lee Myung-bak, who convened an emergency meeting shortly after the exchanges of fire, cautioned against possible escalation of the situation.
"We urge North Korea to immediately stop provocation and we will sternly deal with it in case of further provocation," Yonhap quoted South Korean defense minister Kim Tae-young as telling lawmakers.
The clash came at a time when South Korea is engaged in massive annual military exercises involving some 70,000 troops, launched Monday and scheduled to last through Nov. 30.
[Clash] [Joint US military]
Shooting from DPRK's side targets at S. Korean post
Source: Xinhua [16:32 October 30 2010] Comments The military of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired two shots toward a South Korean military guard post near the inter-Korean border in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province, late Friday, Seoul's Ministry of National Defense confirmed to Xinhua.
The shooting took place at around 17:26 local time (0826 GMT), the ministry said.
It has not been confirmed whether the shooting was accidental, but South Korean side immediately returned three shots, the ministry's press office told Xinhua.
‘Crisis Status’ in South Korea After North Shells Island
By MARK McDONALD
Published: November 23, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean military went to “crisis status” on Tuesday and threatened military strikes after the North fired dozens of shells at a South Korean island, killing two of the South’s soldiers and setting off an exchange of fire in one of the most serious clashes between the two sides in decades.
Analysts were quick to see the shelling as a deliberate North Korean provocation, some linking it to the need for food aid, which has been largely denied by South Korea and strangled by international and United States sanctions. Adding to the North’s internal calculus, the ailing leader, Kim Jong-il, has been positioning his youngest son as his successor.
The attack on Yeonpyeong came as 70,000 South Korean troops were beginning an annual nationwide military drill called Safeguarding the Nation. The exercise has been sharply criticized by Pyongyang as “simulating an invasion of the North” and “a means to provoke a war.” American officials said the South’s military exercise had been announced well in advance, and should not have come as a surprise to the North.
The official North Korean news agency said in a brief statement on Tuesday night that the South “recklessly fired into our sea area.”
The South Korean deputy minister of defense, Lee Yong-geul, said artillery units had been firing from a battery on the South Korean island of Baeknyeongdo, close to the North Korean coast.
Yeonpyeong Island sits just two miles from the Northern Limit Line, the disputed sea border which the North does not recognize, and only eight miles from the North Korean coast. The island houses a garrison of about 1,000 South Korean marines, and the navy has deployed its newest class of “patrol killer” guided-missile ships in the Western Sea, as the Yellow Sea is also known.
[Clash] [Joint US military] [MISCOM]
North Korea fires artillery at South Korean island of Yeongpyeong
By Keith B. Richburg and William Branigin
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, November 23, 2010; 2:30 PM
BEIJING - North Korea launched a massive artillery barrage on a South Korean island Tuesday, killing two South Korean marines, wounding at least 19 other people and setting more than 60 buildings ablaze in the most serious confrontation since the North's sinking of a South Korean warship in March.
Artillery fire on Korean border
South Korea has scrambled F-16 fighter jets to the western sea and returned fire after the North shot off artillery towards South Korean waters and Yeonpyeong
Share3 Tania Branigan in Beijing and agencies guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 November 2010 07.25 GMT Article history
This frame grab taken off South Korean broadcaster KBS shows huge plumes of smoke rising from Yeonpyeong island in the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea on November 23, 2010 Photograph: Kbs/AFP/Getty Images
South Korea's military is on its highest non-wartime alert level after North Korean troops fired dozens of rounds of artillery onto a populated island near disputed waters, reportedly injuring civilians and soldiers.
It has scrambled F-16 fighter jets to the western sea and returned fire after the North shot off artillery towards South Korean waters and Yeonpyeong at around 2.30pm today, officials said.
South Korea's YTN television said two residents were injured and many more were being evacuated to bunkers. It reported that several houses were on fire and that shells were still falling on the island, broadcasting images of black and white plumes of smoke rising above the land.
A resident told the station that between 1,200 and 1,300 people live on Yongpyeong. The South's military said it was checking for damage to civilians.
Yonhap news agency, quoting a military official, said four soldiers were wounded. The reports could not be verified immediately.
The incident came during a routine drill by Southern forces in waters near the island, the military said.
N. Korea fires artillery towards S. Korea
North Korea on Tuesday fired some 200 rounds of artillery towards South Korea and injured South Korean soldiers and civilians on an island near the tense west sea border, the South’s military said.
The artillery shells from the North’s artillery troops along the seashore near the border fell at 2:34 p.m. in the South’s waters off the island of Yeonpyeong, some of them landing directly on the island, said Col. Lee Bung-woo, spokesman at the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. The South’s military responded with its K-9 artillery firing, while announcing the supreme state of emergency.
Four soldiers and several civilians were reportedly wounded by the attack .
The North fired artillery during South military’s firing drill in the souther west sea, the millitary said.
North Korea Reportedly Fires Artillery Near South
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 23, 2010
Smoke rose from South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island after North Korea reportedly fired hundreds (sic)of rounds of artillery from its stronghold on the west coast.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea shot dozens (sic) of rounds of artillery onto a populated South Korean island near their disputed western border Tuesday, military officials said, setting buildings on fire and prompting South Korea to return fire and scramble fighter jets.
The skirmish came amid tension over North Korea's claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility and just over a month after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled his youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir apparent
South Korea's YTN television said two people were injured, several houses were on fire and shells were still falling on Yeonpyeong island. The station broadcast pictures of thick columns of black smoke rising from the island.
Yonhap news agency, quoting a military official, said four soldiers were wounded. President Lee Myung-bak ordered officials to make sure that the firing wouldn't escalate, according to Yonhap, quoting a presidential official. YTN said between 1,200 and 1,300 people live on the island, citing an island resident.
A South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff official said dozens of rounds of artillery landed on the island and in the sea. The official says South Korea fired back. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of JCS rules, said South Korea's military is on alert. He had no other details, and could not confirm the reports of casualties.
The firing comes amid tension over North Korea's claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility and just over a month after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled his youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir apparent.
Tensions between the two Koreas also remain tense after the sinking in March of a South Korean warship in which 46 sailors died. Seoul has blamed a North Korean torpedo, while Pyongyang has denied any responsibility.
The countries' western maritime boundary has long been a flash point between the two Koreas. The North does not recognize the border that was unilaterally drawn by the United Nations at the close of the 1950-53 Korean War.
North and South Korea have fought three bloody skirmishes near the maritime border in recent years, most recently in November 2009.
Clamshell covered in white substance discovered on Cheonan torpedo fragment
The white substance appeared to be oxidized aluminum, and the shell was later
confirmed and removed by the Defense Ministry
» From left: The hole for the torpedo screw wheel, a clamshell covered in white
substance attached to the inside of the hole, and the reported clamshell detached
by the Defense Ministry. (Provided by the Ministry of National Defense)
By Kwon Hyuk-chul, Staff Writer
A journalist discovered a clamshell with white substance inside the propulsion
system of the torpedo presented by the Joint Investigation Group as the decisive
evidence in the sinking of the Cheonan.
The “Three Press Groups’ Verification Committee of the Results of the Cheonan
Investigation,” composed of the Journalists’ Association of Korea, PD Assocation of
Korea and National Union of Media Workers, said Wednesday that inside the second
propeller in the back of the propulsion system, they found a piece of a bivalve
shell, a clamshell. At the edge of the clamshell was white, flower-shaped
substance, and the groups say this clamshell is strong evidence of the fact that
the torpedo had nothing to do with an attack on the Cheonan. The committee claimed
the white substance showed that the clam had been inside the propulsion system
before excreting the substance. Prior to this, a blogger by the nickname of “Autumn
Night” posted on the political webzine Surprise on Monday a zoomed-in photo and
analysis of the clamshell, which was inside one of six 2cm holes in the central
part of the screw.
After the issue was raised, the Defense Ministry removed the clam from the torpedo
propulsion system, which was on display at the War Memorial of Korea, and released
the findings of its analysis on Thursday. In a press release, the ministry said the
substance inside the hole in the screw was not a living shell but a broken
clamshell (2.5cm x 2.5cm). It said it appeared the broken shell was loosely wedged
into the hole, and they judged the shell entered the hole in the propulsion of the
torpedo propulsion system after the explosion as tides swept it from the sea floor.
The ministry claimed the white substance could have entered the hole at the same
time as the clamshell, or that some of the large amounts of substance attached
around the screw moved into the hole afterwards by way of the tides.
In response, the Three Press Groups’ Verification Committee of the Results of the
Cheonan Investigation slammed the Defense Ministry for unilaterally removing the
clam and destroying the white substance, ignoring the demands of evidence
N.Korea reiterates innocence, offers evidence
Analysts say the move is to deflect the S.Korean precondition for diplomatic talks
that N.Korea admit responsibility and apologize
» Andong University Professor Jeong Gi-yong analyzes the makeup of the substances
adhering to the hull of the Cheonan, Oct. 21. (Photo by Ryu Woo-jong)
By Son Won-je, Staff Writer?
North Korea reiterated its innocence of involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan
Tuesday and announced that it was prepared to present the South with a fragment of
the steel alloy used in Korean People’s Army torpedoes as proof.
In a “National Defense Commission Review Team Open Letter” announced Tuesday
through the state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea stated that its
torpedoes were not made of aluminum alloy like the fragment salvaged from the site
of the sinking off Baengnyeong Island, but “are juche-style torpedoes made with
steel alloy materials.”
“By announcing that the torpedo fragment purportedly salvaged from the waters off
Baengnyeong Island where the Cheonan sank was from a Northern torpedo, the U.S.
empire and the Lee Myung-bak gang of traitors contradicted their own North Korean
torpedo attack theory,” the letter continued.
Navy response failed prior to Cheonan sinking, lawmaker says
A DP lawmaker claimed that S.Korea was aware of submarine movements, but failed to
take appropriate countermeasures
» Minister of Defense Kim Tae-young and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Han
Min-ku take an oath during an inspection hearing by the National Assembly’s Defense
Committee at the Ministry of Defense in Seoul. Oct. 3. (Photo by Rhee Jong-chan)
By Kwon Hyuk-chul, Staff writer
South Korea’s Navy was aware of movements by North Korean submarines on the day the
Cheonan sank, but commanders neglected to take appropriate countermeasures, a
lawmaker claimed Monday.
Main Opposition Democratic Party (DP) Lawmaker Shin Hak-yong said during a
parliamentary Defense Ministry audit that neither the Joint Chiefs of Staff nor the
ROK 2nd Fleet, the home base of the sunken Cheonan patrol ship, took appropriate
measures, including ordering that ships go to battle condition or bolster their
defense posture, despite detecting that a North Korean Yono-class submarine and
support ships had begun operations on the morning of the day the Cheonan sank and
that the North Korean military made sudden moves, including mobilizing its coastal
artillery, right before the sinking.
[Editorial] More stunning flaws in Cheonan evidence
An experimental finding has emerged indicating that, contrary to the announcement of the Defense Ministry’s Civilian-Military Joint Investigation Group (JIG), the adhesive substance found on the Cheonan and a torpedo propeller was not formed by an explosion. This is not something to be taken lightly, as it is scientifically incompatible with the government’s announcement that the Cheonan was attacked with a torpedo launched by a North Korean submarine.
According to a recent report by weekly news magazine Hankyoreh 21 and public broadcaster KBS’s program “In Depth 60 Minutes,” Andong National University Earth and Environmental Science Professor Jeong Gi-young was commissioned by the two news outlets to conduct an analysis of the substance found on the Cheonan. His research used a sample of the substance provided to the Three Press Groups’ Verification Committee of the Results of the Cheonan Investigation by the Defense Ministry through Democratic Labor Party Chairwoman Lee Jung-hee.
In contrast with the JIG, which conducted just five experiments, including X-ray diffraction analysis, Jeong conducted a total of 11 experiments, including those five as well as a scanning electronic microscope analysis. This was a much more rigorous scientific procedure, and the results, according to Jeong, showed that the substance appeared to be Amorphous Aluminum Sulfate Hydroxide Hydrate (AASH), which is produced at temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius, rather than aluminum oxide formed under high-temperature explosion conditions, as the JIG announced.
Based on these findings, there is yet another serious flaw in the JIG’s account, which used its own analysis of the substance as a basis for making the connection that the torpedo propeller salvaged at the site of the accident was debris from the very same torpedo that was used to attack the Cheonan. Along with the discovery of a clamshell in pristine condition in a small hole at the back of the propeller, this provides an additional strong basis for questioning the JIG’s findings.
Of course, it would be a leap to come to the absolute conclusion simply on this basis that the cause of the Cheonan’s was not in fact a torpedo by North Korea. What is becoming apparent, however, is that the JIG’s investigation was very hastily conducted and sloppy. These additional findings magnify the need to conduct new scientific analysis for each of the different substances found in various places on the hull.
The Defense Ministry expressed distrust, claiming that Jeong’s analysis did not meet the necessary conditions, such as the sample being opened with representatives from the ministry in attendance. It also said it has no plans to conduct additional experiments.
This attitude from the ministry is problematic. If the ministry simply attempts to bury the questions, this will only lead to further criticism of the JIG and the Lee Myung-bak administration.
Now more than ever, it is necessary to find out the exact truth about the Cheonan’s sinking, no matter how long it takes. One effective means of doing so would be for Jeong and scientists from the JIG to work together to analyze the different substances from the hull one more time. We hope the Defense Ministry will change its stance. It may also be prudent for the National Assembly to take responsibility for supervising the process.
Probe into Truth behind "Cheonan" Case Urged in S. Korea
Pyongyang, November 17 (KCNA) -- The Students Committee of the Youth and Students Solidarity for Implementing the June 15 Joint Declaration in south Korea made public a statement on Nov. 11, urging the puppet authorities to probe the truth behind the warship "Cheonan" sinking case.
The statement said that the people at home and abroad are lifting their voice of demanding probe into the truth about the shell with flower-like white substance which was found out inside the torpedo propelling body produced by the authorities as overwhelming evidence of the "torpedo attack by the north."
It is the view of experts that in light of the size and shape of the discovered shell and white substance on it, the shellfish inhabited and grew there just after its birth and at least five months are needed for it to grow as big as that, the statement added.
It held that the "government" should no longer deceive the people over the "Cheonan" case but probe the truth about it though belatedly.
No matter how hard the authorities are working to cover up the truth behind the case, it would be clarified without fail, it stressed.
KBS program raises questions about cause of Cheonan sinking
By Bae Ji-sook
The state-run broadcaster KBS aired an investigative program that refutes the latest governmental report on the cause of the sinking of the frigate Cheonan in March.
The program raised several suspicions over the report released by a multinational team of investigators. KBS TV’s investigative journal, “In Depth 60-minutes,” aired on Wednesday night, reported that the adhesive material found on the body of the vessel and torpedo components was not Alxoy, which the state-led joint investigation team claimed as residue resulting from the explosion.
Instead, professor Chung Ki-young of Andong National University, who has conducted several examinations of the samples, told the program that it was amorphous basaluminite, something that must have collected and built up over a long period of time.
The program also alleged that the government has tried to conceal several key factors that could conflict with their conclusion that pinpointed a North Korean torpedo attack for causing the tragedy.
For instance, the defense ministry did not disclose the weapons loaded on the warship, which they have vowed to show some doubting lawmakers. Instead, the weapons were hastily discarded, the program revealed.
The show’s directors also claimed that some crucial testimonies from witnesses — soldiers on board the ship or military staffers guarding the nearby posts on land who reportedly said they witnessed a “large column of water” — were highly likely to have been manipulated.
The original script of the conversation contained no such content anywhere, the program said. It also alleged that these suspicions have repeatedly been raised by civic groups since the release of the report in September. “We need a second look into the case all over again,” the program director said at the end of the program.
The broadcast was the first of its kind since the announcement of the governmental conclusion. KBS admitted that the military authorities tried to prevent the broadcast of the “sensitive” content. A high ranking official at the TV network tried to replace the program with a BBC documentary film up to the very last minute.
According to the official state report, the Cheonan was split into two and sunk by a North Korean torpedo attack while conducting a normal mission in the vicinity of Baegnyeong Island at 9:22 p.m. on March 26.
The ship was split due to a shockwave and bubble effect generated by the underwater explosion of a torpedo. The weapons system used in the attack was a torpedo with about 250 kilograms of explosives manufactured and used by North Korea.
White Paper Declares Sunshine Policy Dead and Buried
The Unification Ministry on Wednesday released a new white paper which states that the Sunshine Policy of engagement with North Korea has failed.
"Despite outward development over the past decade, inter-Korean relations have been under criticism from the public in terms of quality and process," the white paper says. "They have in fact become increasingly disillusioned with the North and more worried about security as the North continued its nuclear arms program."
[SK NK policy] [Lee Myung-bak]
Unification Ministry to Hold 'Superstar K2' Concerts
In a bid to raise awareness of reunification among young people, the Ministry of Unification plans to hold a series of concerts featuring finalists from the popular audition show "Superstar K2."
The first concert will take place in Seoul's Jamsil Stadium on Nov. 26, followed by shows at Samsan World Gym in Incheon on Dec. 10, and BEXCO in Busan on Dec. 12.
The three-hour events will star the top 11 singers from the cable TV show, including winner Huh Gak.
The ministry says it plans to publicize reunification issues at the concerts in a way that will not interfere with the entertainment.
NIS 'Secretly Contacted N.Korea Over Cheonan'
The National Intelligence Service secretly contacted North Korea in late September or early October and told the North to admit it sank the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan but the North angrily denied the charge, it emerged on Monday.
A government source said an NIS official contacted North Korea "and delivered our position on the Cheonan issue. But the contact ended in vain as North Korea continued to repeat that it did not do it."
In a parliamentary audit of NIS on Oct. 28, NIS Director Won Sei-hoon said, "A working-level or individual-level approach, such as tourism, is unlikely to bring about changes in inter-Korean relations. We need something in a broader framework." The remark seems to have been prompted by this unsuccessful secret contact.
Korea, Peru Conclude Free Trade Pact
Korea and Peru initialed a free trade agreement on Monday. The two countries will formally sign it in March and submit it to their legislatures for ratification.
Beneath the Surface: the investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan
A documentary about unknown story behind the mysterious sinking of the warship.
On March 26, 2010, the South Korean Navy's patrol combat corvette Cheonan sank, and with it took the lives of 46 of the 104 sailors aboard.
Journalists have worked to uncover the facts behind what happened, and this documentary is a gathering of our investigation findings to date.
Our findings uncovered significant flaws in the Civilian-Military Joint Investigation Group's report, and suggest that the next necessary step is a reinvestigation.
[Video] [Cheonan] [Coverup]
South Korea fires warning shots toward North Korean boat
By Associated Press
Wednesday, November 3, 2010 -
E-mail Print (0) Comments Text size Share Buzz up!SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s navy fired warning shots to chase away a North Korean fishing boat that crossed their disputed sea border early Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said, in the latest flareup of tension on the divided peninsula just days before the Group of 20 summit in Seoul.
The North Korean boat intruded on South Korean territory for about two hours before returning to North Korean waters early Wednesday, the ministry said. The fertile maritime border, the scene of three deadly skirmishes between the Koreas, is a key flashpoint because the North does not recognize the line drawn by the U.N. at the close of the 1950-53 Korean War.
N.Korea with torpedo sample over sunken ship
SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea said Tuesday it was ready to provide torpedo samples to back up its denial of responsibility for the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship.
It said aluminium alloy fragments salvaged by South Korea from the site of the sinking in March "prove, themselves, that the torpedo was not from the North".
North Korean torpedoes are "made of steel alloy material" not the aluminium alloy used in other countries, said the country's top ruling body, the National Defence Commission.
"Cheonan" Case Termed Most Hideous Conspiratorial Farce in History
Pyongyang, November 2 (KCNA) -- The inspection group of the National Defence Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Tuesday released the following first installment of a statement disclosing the truth behind the "Cheonan case":
Seven months have passed since warship "Cheonan" of the south Korean puppet navy sank in the West Sea of Korea.
No sooner had the case occurred than the U.S. imperialists and the Lee Myung Bak group of traitors deliberately linked the case with the DPRK as if they had waited for it to happen, kicking up an unprecedented anti-DPRK confrontation racket.
The DPRK dismissed the groundless story about "the DPRK's involvement" in the "Cheonan" case as a sheer fabrication and a conspiratorial farce from the outset and declared internally and externally its will to probe the truth behind the case to the last.
Falsity of "Results of Investigation" into "Cheonan" Case Exposed Again
Pyongyang, November 8 (KCNA) -- The south Korean Media Verification Committee for Probe into the Truth behind the Case of Warship "Cheonan", made up of three media organizations including the Journalist Association, on November 3 clarified again that the warship was not sunken by a torpedo attack.
The organization referred to the fact that a shell covered with flower-like white substance was discovered from the inside of the torpedo propelling body produced by the authorities as overwhelming evidence when announcing the results of the investigation into the "Cheonan" case. This indicates the propelling body has nothing to do with the case, it added.
The white substance was formed in the long floating of substance in solid state in the water, the organization held, adding that this proves the shell existed inside the propelling body even before the formation of the substance.
Had this white substance been what was adsorbed in the course of explosion, it could not have remained in such flower shape on the shell, the organization asserted.
Prison Term Inflicted upon Member of Solidarity Organization in S. Korea
Pyongyang, November 11 (KCNA) -- The south Korean puppet supreme court inflicted a prison term upon a member of the Solidarity for Implementing the South-North Joint Declaration on charge of violating the draconic "National Security Law" on November 8, according to south Korean Yonhap News.
The supreme court at a trial held that day sentenced him to two years in prison, etc. charging that the music CDs he had were the "enemy-benefiting ones as they praise the north".
[Human rights] [NSL]
S. Korea Accused of Trying to Cover up Truth about "Cheonan" Case
Pyongyang, November 13 (KCNA) -- The Media and Academic Headquarters of the South Side Committee for Implementing the June 15 Joint Declaration on November 9 issued a joint statement accusing the puppet Ministry of Defence of trying to cover up the truth about the "Cheonan" warship case.
The statement blasted the ministry for letting loose a whole string of nonsensical rhetoric in a bid to destroy evidence by taking shell off the inside of the torpedo propelling body.
Herein lies its sinister aim to hide the falsity of the results of the investigation into the "Cheonan" case published by it at any cost, the statement added.
Casting doubt about the fact that the ministry only sent a photo to an institution, asking it to analyze the ingredients of the shell, the statement held that this indicates itself that it is trying to dodge a proper probe into the truth about the case.
Truth is bound to be probed, the statement noted, demanding the south Korean "government" conduct inspection of state administration to properly probe the truth behind the case.
DPRK investigation of the sinking of the Cheonan
Korea Committee for Solidarity with the World People
I extend my warm greetings of the Korea Committee for Solidarity with World People.
Seven months have passed since warship “Cheonan”of south Korean navy sank in the Korean West Sea.
No sooner than the case erupted than the U.S and south Korean authorities deliberately linked the case with the DPRK kicking up the military exercises against the DPRK almost everyday.
Korean Peninsula now faces the tug of situation that the war may happen at any time.
[Cheonan] [Coverup][ [Buildup]
S. Korean Military Authorities' Rejection of Contact Denounced
Pyongyang, October 29 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the north side's delegation to the north-south military talks issued the following statement Friday denouncing the south side for rejecting the north-south military working talks:
Recently the south Korean puppet military has persisted in the operation for scattering anti-DPRK leaflets in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line where the armed forces of both sides stand in acute confrontation and perpetrated such military provocations as infiltrating ships of its navy into the territorial waters of the DPRK side in the West Sea of Korea one after another.
[SK NK policy] [Overtures] [Buildup]
Reunion of Separated Families from North and South Begins
Pyongyang, October 30 (KCNA) -- The reunion of separated families and relatives from the north and the south started at Mt. Kumgang Resort on Saturday under an agreement reached between the Red Cross organizations of the north and the south to arrange the reunion on the occasion of the Harvest Moon Day according to the proposal made by the DPRK side on its own initiative.
S. Korean Puppet Minister of Unification's Outbursts Flayed
Pyongyang, October 13 (KCNA) -- Puppet Minister of Unification of south Korea Hyon In Thaek was recently reported to have talked nonsense in Germany that "the experience" gained by someone "in achieving unification" could "serve as an example" and south Korea could "make preparations for unification" on its basis.
Rodong Sinmun Wednesday observes in a signed commentary in this regard:
His outbursts were a blatant challenge to all the Koreans who wish to achieve the independent and peaceful reunification of the country through inter-Korean reconciliation and unity and a provocation to the DPRK as he openly disclosed his scenario for achieving the "unification of systems".
The above-said outbursts let loose by the confrontation-minded maniacs ignorant of this only reveal the treacherous scenario to realize the ambition for "unification through invasion against the north", far from working to attain independent reunification through the inter-Korean reconciliation and unity.
Adherence to Principles of National Reunification Called for
Pyongyang, October 14 (KCNA) -- The three principles of national reunification set forth by the Workers' Party of Korea-- independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity--are the most just and patriotic principles, says Rodong Sinmun Thursday in a signed article.
It is the invariable stand of the WPK to achieve the country's reunification on the principle of national independence, the article says, and goes on:
Scientific Inaccuracy of Final Report on "Cheonan" Case Exposed
Pyongyang, October 17 (KCNA) -- The media committee for verification of investigation into the truth behind the "Cheonan" case grouping three press organizations including the Journalist Association of south Korea held a press conference at the "National Assembly" on Oct. 12 to expose the scientific inaccuracy of the final report released by the puppet Ministry of Defense.
The organization at the press conference held that the final report on the "Cheonan" case was confirmed to be distortion of the truth.
It said that the analysis of adsorptive material extracted from the hull of ship "Cheonan" and torpedo and the result of the experiment of the underwater explosion, etc, gave the lie to the story of the torpedo attack by the north.
The testimony of soldiers that they saw the column of water at the time of accident was what was distorted and fabricated by the "government", it said, noting that there is high possibility that the case could have been masterminded by the military.
The organization demanded the "government" thoroughly probe the truth behind the case, though belatedly.
North’s offer of military talks nixed
October 30, 2010
South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense announced yesterday it turned down North Korea’s Oct. 19 offer to hold military working talks.
“We sent a notice on Thursday that it would be meaningless to hold military working talks in this situation where North Korea has still not changed its position and attitude [on the Cheonan incident],” said the Defense Ministry in a statement.
[Overtures] [SK NK policy] [Cheonan] [Pretext] [Buildup]
Korea Ranks 4th in High-Speed Rail Technology
Korea ranks fourth in the world in terms of technology in high-speed rail networks after France, Germany and Japan. The country was the fifth in the world to build a high-speed rail network and rose to fourth place just 16 years after it began development of the KTX bullet train.
When Korea began the KTX development, the top speed was 159 km/h and its technology lagged 15 years behind France, but now that gap has narrowed to just three to five years, while up to 88 percent of the components are manufactured locally, said Kim Ki-hwan, head of the high-speed rail team at the Korea Railroad Research Institute.
Korea now stands on par with advanced countries when it comes to the maximum speed. The KTX makes 300 km/h, which is the same as other bullet trains. China's high-speed train is faster, traveling between 330 km/h to 350 km/h, but it trails behind Korea in terms of technology.
The World Still Knows Little About S.Korea
Lee Ha-won In July 2002 I received my name card from graduate school in Chicago. It gave my name and home country, South Korea. I immediately called at the academic affairs office to protest, asking why they did not give my country's official name. An official apologized and made out another card that said "Republic of Korea." As a result, I was constantly asked by my fellow students whether I was from North or South Korea. So I went back to the office, apologized, and asked them to give me another card saying "South Korea."
Two Koreas Exchange Gunfire
South Korean military officials say North Korea fired two gunshots across the heavily-guarded demilitarized zone, toward a South Korean military post.
A South Korean defense official said the South immediately returned fire. An official with the U.S. Forces in South Korea said these incidents seem to occur about once a year.
S. Korean Pop Songs Proving to Be Hits in NK
OCTOBER 29, 2010 10:12
When China began full-blown efforts to open and reform its economy in the mid-1980s, ethnic Korean residents there began flooding into North Korea.
Staying with their relatives in the North, the Korean Chinese sold Chinese-made goods there and bought fishery products from the North.
Their frequent visits to the North also brought South Korean pop songs to the Stalinist country, including “Choi Jinsa’s Youngest Daughter” and “Cotton Field.” At the time, North Koreans sang such songs thinking that they were from Yanbian, a Korean autonomous prefecture in China’s Jilin province.
Lee urges NK to seek Chinese-style economic reform
By Na Jeong-ju
HANOI - President Lee Myung-bak called on North Korea to emulate China’s economic model, saying the North should work to narrow the economic growth gap with the South to ensure common prosperity and peace in the region, the Financial Times reported Friday.
[Spin] [Lee Myung-bak] [China model]
Would you pay $1 a month for unification tax?
By Lee Tae-hoon
A lawmaker of the ruling party urged an immediate introduction of a unification tax, Thursday, saying an extra dollar per month from each taxpayer may not suffice, but it was necessary to better prepare for a possible collapse of the North Korean regime.
“How much money are you willing to spend if you or your family member is seriously ill, or to correct distorted history?” asked Rep. Kim Choong-whan of the governing Grand National Party (GNP) in a public hearing on whether to levy a unification tax at the National Assembly.
“How could anyone object to collecting a dollar or $10 per month, which would pave the way to make the size of the country twice as big, salvage their 22 million brethren in the North and write a new, bright chapter of history?”
[Unification] [Takeover] [Buildup]
Return to ROK and Inter-Korean relations page