News / Asia

South Korea Plans Live Firing Drill from Attacked Island

South Korean Marines patrol along a beach on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, 15 Dec 2010
South Korean Marines patrol along a beach on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, 15 Dec 2010

In a move likely to further escalate tension on the Korean peninsula, Seoul's military says it will resume live-firing artillery drills from an island North Korea attacked last month.

South Korea's military Thursday said artillery training will resume from Yeonpyeong island, possibly as soon as Saturday.

Spokesman Colonel Lee Boong-wu calls the exercise routine and legitimate. He says it is meant to bolster the defenses of the country's northwestern islands, which sit below the maritime border, the Northern Limit Line.

Lee says the timing of the shelling will be announced in navigation alerts beforehand. He adds that representatives of the 16-member countries of the U.N. Command and the Military Armistice Commission will observe to see that it abides by the 1953 ceasefire agreement.

North Korea does not recognize the Northern Limit Line and claims much of the Yellow Sea now under Seoul's control.

Four South Koreans died on November 23 when North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong. During an exercise that day the South Korean military had been firing artillery into the Yellow Sea, but not toward North Korea.

The United States, in response, has held military exercises with South Korea and Japan. Pyongyang calls the drills highly provocative, saying they are bringing the peninsula very close to war.

The commander of U.S. forces here, General Walter Sharp, says more exercises will be conducted. He says they will partly focus on how to respond to provocations by North Korea.

"In light of the recent events we will seek ways to further change our exercises to address limited as well as full-scale North Korean attacks," said Sharp.

The shelling of Yeonpyeong came eight months after the sinking of a South Korean navy ship, which killed 46 sailors. An international investigation concluded the vessel was hit by a North Korean torpedo. Pyongyang denies involvement.

In 1953, fighting halted in the three-year Korean War, but since no peace treaty has been signed, the two Koreas remain technically at war.

South Korea's government Thursday expressed skepticism about reports that North Korea may allow United Nations inspectors to return to examine Pyongyang's nuclear facilities. The inspectors were kicked out of the country in 2008.

South Korean media report that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il made the offer to visiting Chinese officials last week.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun says it appears, however, Pyongyang did not explicitly say it would accept inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Kim says based on Seoul's past dealings with Pyongyang, it is important for the North Koreans to demonstrate the will to end their nuclear weapons programs by taking specific actions.

Despite years of negotiations that began in 2003, North Korea has not made good on promises to end its nuclear weapons programs in return for aid and greater diplomatic recognition.

Also, the governor of the U.S. state of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, began a four-day visit to Pyongyang.

The U.S. State Department says Richardson, who has made several trips to North Korea, is not carrying any official message. But his visit is seen as part of the intensive diplomacy in Asia to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Before departing Beijing for Pyongyang, Richardson said he hopes to bring about peace by persuading North Korea's leadership to stop some of the aggressive actions it has taken.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs