News / Asia

South Korea Concludes Artillery Drill

South Koreans watch a live TV breaking news about South Korea's live fire artillery at Seoul train station in Seoul, 20 Dec 2010
South Koreans watch a live TV breaking news about South Korea's live fire artillery at Seoul train station in Seoul, 20 Dec 2010

South Koreans are anxiously waiting to see if North Korea will make good on its threat to take military action in response to an artillery drill on Yeonpyeong island. The exercise came just hours after an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council failed to ease tensions, and after an American politician said North Korea is willing to accept nuclear inspections.

South Korea defied diplomatic pressure and went ahead Monday with firing artillery into the Yellow Sea for 94 minutes, escalating its confrontation with the communist North.

Defense officials stress the shelling was to the southwest, away from North Korea. But North Korea claims that area is its territory and, in the days since the drill was announced, has warned it could lead to war.

In Seoul, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun termed the live-fire exercise routine and legitimate.

Kim says the artillery drill is for self-defense and part of the country's sovereign right.

A few hours before the exercise, the United Nations Security Council failed to reach a consensus on lowering tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Diplomats say China, among other nations, would not back a statement condemning North Korea for recent aggressive behavior, including the shelling of Yeonpyeong island last month.

After the U.N. talks failed, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice defended South Korea's decision to go ahead with the artillery drill. She noted the two fatal attacks this year blamed on North Korea - the sinking in March of a South Korean navy ship and last month's shelling of Yeonpyeong island.

"If the events of the last year have shown anything it is that the Republic of Korea has every need and right to ready its self defense having lost 50 citizens simply over the course of the last nine months," said Rice.

A Chinese vice foreign minister on Monday renewed his country's call for more talks and said no one has the right to provoke conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Also Monday, a veteran American diplomatic troubleshooter wrapped up a trip to Pyongyang. He was quoted by the CNN news network as saying the North Koreans have agreed to allow U.N. nuclear inspectors back into the country.

Former ambassador Bill Richardson (the governor of New Mexico) was quoted as saying the North Koreans also agreed to negotiate the sale of 12,000 fresh fuel rods so they could be shipped out of the country.

For seven years, the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea have tried to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons programs in return for aid and greater diplomatic recognition. Despite agreeing to do so, Pyongyang has tested nuclear weapons and recently revealed a new fuel production facility.

Members of South Korea's political opposition unsuccessfully appealed to President Lee Myung-bak to cancel Monday's artillery training.

Democratic Party lawmaker Chung Dong-Young is a former cabinet minister who previously negotiated with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

"It['s] irresponsible of the president if he panders to the tastes of the conservative forces," he said. "The president should be responsible if the artillery fire from Yeonpyeong island brings another dangerous exchange of fire, which might go out of control."

Last month, conservatives criticized the president for not responding forcefully to the North Korean attack, which killed four South Koreans.

In the early 1950's, the two Koreas fought a three-year year. A truce has been in place since 1953, but no peace treaty has been signed.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid