News / Asia

N. Korean Threats Cause Worry on S. Korean Island

N. Korean Threats Cause Worry on S. Korean Islandi
X
April 08, 2013 11:47 PM
The Yellow Sea is a military flashpoint between North and South Korea. Naval skirmishes between the two nations have erupted over the years and in 2010 Pyongyang attacked one of the South’s islands there. In recent weeks, tensions have risen on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea has responded to new sanctions on its nuclear program with increasing threats. Residents of another island say they are worried about what could happen. Reporter Jason Strother has this report from Baengnyeong island.
Jason Strother
The Yellow Sea is a military flashpoint between North and South Korea.  Naval skirmishes between the two nations have erupted over the years and in 2010 Pyongyang attacked one of the South’s islands there. In recent weeks, tensions have risen on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea has responded to new sanctions on its nuclear program with increasing threats. Residents of another island say they are worried about what could happen. 
 
Fisherman Lee Hwan-sun has lived all his life on Baengnyeong Island. These days he does not take his boat out very far.
 
Baengnyeong Island, South KoreaBaengnyeong Island, South Korea
x
Baengnyeong Island, South Korea
Baengnyeong Island, South Korea
“I used to take my boat out into the waters about five minutes out of this port.  But because of the threats from North Korea, I do not dare go out there now," he said. 

At its closest point, Baengnyeong is only about 15 kilometers away from North Korean territory. Last month, the North’s ruler Kim Jong Un ordered his army to take aim at the island, which is home to thousands of South Korean soldiers and marines.  It is not the first time Baengnyeong has felt threatened by Pyongyang.  But officials here say if the North strikes, they are ready to protect the 5,500 residents.
 
Kim Jin-guk heads the island's civil defense force, which maintains around 90 bomb shelters.  If the North were to attack, 500 islanders could take shelter in this bunker.  Kim says that despite North Korea’s recent threats, the situation here is under control.
 
“Residents here are more worried about an attack by North Korea compared with people from other parts of the country. They have lived so close to North Korea for many years and yet they remain calm and go about their daily lives as normal," he said. 
 
Kim says an alarm system will alert residents to head for the shelters if North Korean shells do fall on Baengnyeong, like they did on Yeonpyeong Island in 2010.  Kim hopes he does not have to ever use it.   
 
While Baengnyeong has always been within range of North Korea’s artillery, some residents say they feel more threatened now than before.  A women resident say Kim Jong Un is unpredictable.
 
“Kim Jong Un is worse than his father Kim Jong Il.  We do not know when he is going to launch a missile.  We are all scared," she said. 
 
As for fisherman Lee Hwan-sun, he has considered leaving Baengnyeong all together. “My children all want me and my wife to leave the island and move with them on the mainland," he said. 
 
Lee says he thinks he will just wait for the tensions to settle down so he can take his fishing boat back out to the sea.

Producer Malte Kollenberg also contributed to this report

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs