Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trouble in Korea

Every year, the South Korean military holds a massive exercise called Hoguk, or “Defending the Nation,” in which tens of thousands of troops from across the services work on their coordination in the face of an attack. And every year, the North Koreans denounce it as “dangerous war maneuvers” as that simulate an invasion. So this year’s exercise, featuring 70,000 troops, many drilling in the Yellow Sea, should come as no surprise. It’s expected to begin shortly.

Except early today, the North began shelling the inhabited island of Yeonpyeongdo, about two miles south of the maritime armistice line. According to the Korea Times – which headlines its piece “1st NK Attack on S. Korean Soil” — the North’s army is believed “to have about eight 27-kilometer-range 130mm howitzers and eight 76 guns with a range of 12 kilometers,” presumably at use in the strike.

TV cameras captured destroyed buildings on the island spewing black smoke and villagers running in panic. South Korean troops returned fire with their K9 Thunder howitzers and put its F-16 fighter jets on alert. According to the Korea Herald, President Lee Myung-bak has ordered a “multiple-fold retaliation,” including a strike on the North’s “missile base near [its] coastline artillery position” if the North doesn’t deescalate hostilities.


The Obama administration blasted the exchange in a statement emailed to reporters. “The United States strongly condemns this attack and calls on North Korea to halt its belligerent action and to fully abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement,” press secretary Robert Gibbs said, adding that the U.S. is “firmly committed” to defending South Korea and to “the maintenance of regional peace and stability.”


That's what we need right now. War on yet another front.

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