Tuesday, November 23, 2010

KoreasMilitary: Artillery fired: NorKor shells South Korean island

Early dispatches from Washington Post (Nov23,2k10) and MarketWatch (Nov23,2k10) report on the tragic attack by North Korea upon the island of Yeonpyeong which is situated just 75 miles off the NorKor shore, and also 75 some miles from South Korea's capital, Seoul.  The island has a population of just 1,200 or so, but presumably that doesn't count in the number of troops based there by the SoKor military.  The population had to scurry into 20 shelters scattered about the island. Yeonpyeong Island is central to 30 smaller islands, and is known for its crab fishing.

Michael Kitchen in his MW Market Pulse brief "North, South Korea trade artillery fire: reports" has an eye for the immediate economic impact of this latest deadly imbroglio:  

Los Angeles -- North and South Korea both reportedly fired artillery shells Tuesday at an island near the two nations' western border. Reports from the region said the North launched dozens of rounds at the island, identified by the Associated Press as South Korea's Yeonpyeong island. Several reports cited unnamed South Korean officials as saying Southern forces then fired back. The exchange follows claims by North Korea that it has opened an advanced uranium-enrichment facility. The news sent the Korean won falling against the U.S. dollar in forward trade, with the greenback rising to 1,155 won compared to Tuesday's spot close of 1,137 won, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
But the larger setting of this conflagration, to m+ m+nd, points to the stunning humiliation that North Korea must have experienced due to the  G20 Summit in Seoul and Tokyo. China was there, the USA was there in the person of its President, and so were all the leading countries of the Asian economic resurgence.  Something of which NorKor is not a part.

What North Korea has is weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and a crackerjack military that lives off the hunger of the NorKor population.  To counter the humiliation of the North's absence from the Summit, wh+l its ally China was h+ly active in the proceedings, NorKor has now stunned the world by revealing that it has a new nuclear facility which  is already "a h+ly sophisticated operation" with some "2000 completed centrifuges" necessary to creating nuclear weapons.  

Reporter Kwang-Tae Kim (AP via WaPo) writing from Seoul presents available details of the present conflict and the background in his article "NKorea fires artillery onto SKorean island, 1 dead."

 North Korea fired barrages of artillery onto a South Korean island near their disputed western border Tuesday, setting buildings ablaze and killing at least one marine after warning the South to halt military drills in the area, South Korean officials said.
The skirmish came amid high tension over North Korea's claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility and just six weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled his youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir apparent.

The North's artillery struck the small South Korean-held island of Yeonpyeong, which houses military installations and a small civilian population and which has been the focus of two previous deadly battles between the Koreas.

One South Korean marine was killed, three were seriously wounded and 10 slightly wounded, a Joint Chiefs of Staff official said. Island residents were escaping to about 20 shelters in the island while sporadic shelling continued, the JCS said.

The firing came amid South Korean military drills in the area. North Korea's military had sent a message to South Korea's armed forces early Tuesday to demand that the drills stop, but the South continued them, said an official at South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

During the drills, South Korean marines on the island shot artillery toward southern waters, away from North Korea, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of military rules.
China, which is the North's economic and political benefactor while maintaining robust commercial ties with the South, called for calm.

Tensions between the two Koreas have remained high since the sinking in March of a South Korean warship in which 46 sailors died. Seoul blamed a North Korean torpedo, while Pyongyang has denied any responsibility.
The reporter continues in his presentation of the foreground and background of the tense situation in which l+vs have been lost.

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