News / Asia

China Calls for Calm After Koreas Fire Artillery into Ocean

This handout picture released by Ongjin County office on March 31, 2014, shows students taking shelter at the South Korea-controlled island of Baengnyeong as North Korea started a live-fire drill. (AFP/Ongjin County Office)
This handout picture released by Ongjin County office on March 31, 2014, shows students taking shelter at the South Korea-controlled island of Baengnyeong as North Korea started a live-fire drill. (AFP/Ongjin County Office)
China is calling for calm in the Korean Peninsula after North Korea fired artillery near the South’s maritime border, and Seoul responded by firing back.

Pyongyang notified Seoul of its plans to conduct live-fire drills and then fired shells in waters that belong to South Korea, said South Korea's Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok. He called the action a planned provocation by the North aimed at testing the South's willingness to protect its water boundaries.

Kim said the South, which responded by firing about 300 shells, intended to firmly punish North Korea for the infraction.

As a precaution, South Korean authorities moved residents of the nearby islands into shelters.
 
The firing lasted hours, and happened in waters close to North Korea's western shores, where the boundaries between the two countries are contested.

North Korea does not recognize the “Northern Limit Line,” which was drawn in the 1950s and includes a number of islands physically closer to North Korea that are designated as South Korean territory.

North Korea's sole ally in the region, China, called for calm and restraint.

In Beijing, Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China is concerned about the rising temperature on the Korean peninsula. He called on all sides to remain calm and not do anything to worsen tensions.

Beijing has repeatedly stated its concern about spikes in tensions that could endanger stability in the region.

China traditionally sides with the United Nations in condemning provocative acts by the North, including the launch of missiles and developments in Pyongyang's nuclear weapon program.

But Beijing has fallen short of singling out the North, and says all parties involved have a responsibility to tone down their actions.

Cheng Xiaohe, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing says that in incidents such as Monday's exchange of fire there is not much China can do.

"The actions are not directly targeting China, but might hamper something that China has pushed for a long time: the resumption of the six-party talks," Cheng said.

The talks are a series of multilateral negotiations that stalled in 2009, after North Korea had already agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

Apart from the two Koreas, China, the U.S. and Russia,  the six-party talks also include Japan.

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by: Anonymous
April 01, 2014 11:30 AM
Good job China! They are killing all the fishes with their crazy firings.

by: james from: ireland
March 31, 2014 9:55 PM
All we would need is about ten armoured divisions from the Waffen SS and that would put an end to it

by: K noziack Chisenga from: Zambian
March 31, 2014 12:51 PM
The only guarantee for total stability and peace on the Korean peninsuls is by the total elimination of the despotic North Korean regime and its failed economic and political policies.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
March 31, 2014 8:45 PM
THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW? .. The US is the most aggressor country in the world, and has started more wars, (and been involved in more wars, on one side or the other), than any other country in the whole world....
The US (with the 27 other NATO countries support), attacked little Yugoslavia, and Libya, and fought the Iraq war without winning, and lost the Afghan war, and the Korean war was a draw, and lost the Vietnam war, (AND NOW?), the US hasn't (won) one single war since WW2, when they and the allies defeated NAZI Germany...
(CRAZY isn't it?) ... How brave some countries are (like the US) when they have 27 NATO countries backing them up, (Like schoolyard bullies, attacking a handicapped child?).. aren't they? --- (WHAT would the US do, if they had to fight the war alone, like the other enemy countries have to do against the US and NATO?).... Did you say, NOTHING?
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 31, 2014 6:49 PM
Or eliminate the other side? Anyway, where America goes, conflicts and war come.

by: Richard Kunz from: Ohio
March 31, 2014 11:37 AM
I think that Russia and north Korea are testing us and our allies and see what they can get away with. There probing In a way like Germany did in world war 1&2. We better keep our eyes & ears open. And keep our military strong and alert.

In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 31, 2014 6:51 PM
Why don't just fake another excuse and invade NK? Dare not, coward?

by: Kenneth Gabriel from: ma usa
March 31, 2014 11:28 AM
the northern limit line is an anachronism left over from a UN considerations during the Korean War. Originally intended as a boundary from South Korea's ships to stay away from North Korea, it became a Defakto border which any observations shows is patently unfair to North Korea. No one condones North Korea's belligerence,and because of that north Korea's very real objections to that border are ignored routinely by the United States, South Korea, and the United Nations probably for economic reasons.

by: k gabriel from: ma usa
March 31, 2014 11:19 AM
the northern limit line is an anachronism leftover from you when policies during the Korean War

by: Ron from: USA
March 31, 2014 11:18 AM
I wonder if the North & South fish abide by these borders or do they swim freely about and also if they have enough fish to eat there or have they killed them all?

by: Jason Edwards
March 31, 2014 11:14 AM
It's a shame that backward countries such as North Korea allow cowardly little men to control their military and keep impoverished citizens at bay. Kim is such a man. A man of small stature who was handed N. Korea's leadership. He has earned nothing and amounts to nothing. Such men with corrupted personalities, if given the chance, keep their fingers on the trigger ready to engage and destroy anyone whom they consider a threat. Destruction is the only thing this pathetic man understands. As such, Kim needs to be taken out before he destroys the lives of innocent people within his gun's reach.
In Response

by: MistyDawn from: USA
April 06, 2014 10:59 PM
The US is not killing its own people Jonathan. Have you ever seen any of the documentaries about North Korea? Watch one, then talk about people suffering and dying a needless death.
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 31, 2014 7:01 PM
Uhm I am quite sure America has killed much more innocent ppl than Kim did.

by: tiddle from: nyc
March 31, 2014 11:09 AM
China is losing grip of its control and influence on N.Korea.

by: Steve Froud from: A safe Bunker in a forest
March 31, 2014 11:04 AM
So apart from blowing up loads of fish, what has this achieved exactly?
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
March 31, 2014 11:30 AM
TRUTHFULLY? .. like 2 school kids screaming at each other, "I'm not scared of you" and neither one doing anything, but posturing? EVERY year (twice a year) the US has these posturing military exercises on the North Korean borders, screaming at the North Koreans, they're not scared of them.... (childish, isn't it?) BUT? .. the North Koreans don't know if the US troops that are in their forward ready combat positions, might suddenly find an excuse to attack them, do they?
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