News / Asia

North, South Korea Trade Fire Across Maritime Border

A man watches a television news program reporting about North Korea's plan to conduct live-fire drills, at a Seoul train station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, March 31, 2014.
A man watches a television news program reporting about North Korea's plan to conduct live-fire drills, at a Seoul train station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, March 31, 2014.
VOA News
North Korea has fired artillery shells into South Korean waters, apparently in reaction to military exercises being conducted between the U.S. and South Korea.
 
Seoul responded immediately on Monday by shelling North Korean waters.  Officials say no shells hit any land areas on either side along the western sea boundary and no one was injured.  South Korean officials said some residents of border islands were evacuated to shelters as a precaution.

A White House official described the actions as "dangerous and provocative'', adding that the country's threats and provocations only isolate it further.
       
"We remain steadfast in our commitment [to] the defense of our allies and remain in close coordination with both the Republic of Korea and Japan,'' White House National Security Council spokesman Jonathan Lalley said Monday.
 
US-South Korea exercises

U.S. General Paul Kennedy says the joint exercises taking place about 360 kilometers north of Seoul have no political objectives.
 
"This exercise is not designed to act with any political situation.  It's not designed to send a message.  This is something that we have to do to interoperate with our allies," said Kennedy.
 
The North in recent weeks has increased threatening rhetoric and conducted a series of rocket and ballistic missile launches into waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.
 
Pyongyang threatened on Sunday to conduct what it called "a new form of nuclear test" after the U.N. Security Council condemned the North's recent ballistic missile launches.
 
Nuclear capabilities

Malcolm Cook, an analyst at the Singapore-based Institute for South Asian Studies, tells VOA this could mean the North has developed the ability to build a nuclear warhead. 
 
"Certainly, if they were able to show the capability of weaponizing, in that sense, their new nuclear capability, that would be a significant change to the inter-regional security picture in a significant way.  The other thing they may do, are more underground tests or more than one test at other times.  I think the range of what they call new nuclear measures is quite broad, but if they were able to show that they've been able to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to put on any of their short, medium or long range missiles, then that would be a significant change," said Cook.

Cook added that Monday's artillery exchange is not as serious as the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship in March 2010, and North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November of that same year that killed four people.
 
A statement Sunday from the North's Foreign Ministry said it was intolerable that the Security Council would "turn a blind eye" to U.S. nuclear war exercises while denouncing the North Korean army's self-defensive rocket launch exercises.
 
After North Korea fired two medium-range ballistic missiles into the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula Wednesday, the Security Council condemned the launches the next day, saying they violated U.N. resolutions.
 
Pyongyang routinely calls military drills involving South Korea and the U.S. a rehearsal for invasion.

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Comments
     
by: ugg_ugg from: California
March 31, 2014 1:37 PM
What ever happened to----Speak softly and carry a big stick.---All we hear on the news anymore is get tuff--speak ruff and keep on doing it. You and I know to back up the tough and ruff ---It cost a lot of money---the only ones who benefit is the hidden bossed of --We supply arms to anyone at a very high price.--These are probably the same ones who are promoting all of the hate and negativity throughout the entire world. We need to find these profiteers and put them on trial--then in jail and throw away the key.
In Response

by: Edward from: Jaccksonville,FL
March 31, 2014 5:23 PM
those leaders were a lot smarter than the ones we have now, I have learned the hard way, a lot of talk usually gets the talker in trouble

by: ken from: toronto
March 31, 2014 12:52 PM
The world watches while, for several generations, the North Korean leadership is responsible for gross atrocities and against humanity. To watch and do nothing, would be to be as guilty as the aggressor. South Korea at war with a known tyrant would emerge the hero. It would be the same as America winning the war against Nazi Germany. You need a South Korean Winston Churchill.
In Response

by: moomooslice from: usa
March 31, 2014 1:55 PM
what would you say about the master behind supporting this regime the last 60 years or so ? without red china, this would not have existed !

by: this guy from: America
March 31, 2014 12:44 PM
you do realize that the US military is larger than all other military's put together righT. America also didn't just annex part of North Korea. I would say it's not quite right to compare the two. America doesn't usually country around themthreaten to nuke every county around them either, just saying. I don't like America any more than anybody else, but you just hurt your cause when you get the facts wrong.
In Response

by: John from: S Korea
March 31, 2014 5:06 PM
For the reply by anonymous...US...by far...has a stronger military than China. Not that it wouldn't be a mess of a war. But you should get the facts right. Checkout globalfirepower.com. Keep in mind that you need money, oil, and other resources to fight a war.
In Response

by: Anonymous
March 31, 2014 1:58 PM
Sorry guy but America has the second largest military force in the world China has the largest and they have a complete nuclear arsenal and the ally with north Korea that region is so unstable because knowone wants to wake the sleeping giant.

by: meanbill from: USA
March 31, 2014 9:53 AM
HYPOCRITICAL aren't they? .... The US and NATO make the rules, on what is right or wrong according to their own rules?
The US and the other 27 NATO countries condemn the Russian troops training on the Ukraine borders .. (YET?) .. every year (twice a year), the US, South Korea, and allies have giant military exercises on the North Korean borders?... CRAZY isn't it? .. (how the US, and the other 27 NATO countries think?) ... I just bet the US wouldn't be so belligerent, if they didn't have those 27 other NATO countries militarily supporting them, do you?
In Response

by: Wolfnut88 from: Washington
March 31, 2014 1:42 PM
HA, you're a funny guy. If you love communism so much why don't you go live with them. How many times have we (America) conducted an excercise then followed it up with an invasion?
In Response

by: GreenLine from: Las Vegas, NV
March 31, 2014 1:12 PM
@meanbill Are you forgetting about all those helpless people held prison in North Korean? Prisons that resemble small towns, where guards kill, hurt, and torture prisoners. Babies are orn into these prisons sometimes and grow up to think this is how the entire world is. And what you just said about the US and NATO; do you know you would be thrown in one of these prisons (your family too) if you had said something negative against North Korea while living in North Korea. And to answer your questions, staging drills on ones own territory or with an ally is different than Russia invading Ukraine -hard to beIieve you mentioned that. And the US would still be the world's premier power without the rest of NATO. We are a member of NATO to show that we do value the opinion of other countries and that other countries must play a hand in upholding international law as well. Be much more sensible before you defend North Korea.
In Response

by: stj from: United States
March 31, 2014 1:07 PM
Meanbill, you are forgetting with country abuses it's citizens and what country represents democracy and human dignity.
In Response

by: Brian Thomas
March 31, 2014 1:01 PM
First off. I agree the US doesn't treat every other country in the world as an equal. That comes with being world police. When someone else wants that job they can take it over. Second, no. The US's military budget is more then the next seven countries military budgets combined. So no they aren't scared if they are the only force going into war. All North Korea is a proxy country for China anyways...
In Response

by: JB from: Canada
March 31, 2014 12:59 PM
Belligerence lies with the unstable and aggressive regions. Upstart warmongering nations run by warlord dictators are the reason for democratic and stable nations to be allied together, to act as deterrents to would-be instigators of war. North Korea and Russia are despot country's of a forgotten age that will fade into obscurity as the rest of the world works together, striving for mutual existence and peace.
In Response

by: Roger from: USA
March 31, 2014 12:39 PM
North and South Korea are still at war. No peace treaty has ever been signed. Russia and Ukraine are not at war. Will they start one. Maybe that is the difference?

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