News / Asia

South Korea Prepares for Live Fire Artillery Exercises Near Border

South Korean Marines patrol on Yeonpyeong island, South Korea, ahead of expected live-fire artillery exercises, Dec. 20, 2010.
South Korean Marines patrol on Yeonpyeong island, South Korea, ahead of expected live-fire artillery exercises, Dec. 20, 2010.

The United Nations Security Council's emergency talks on easing Korean tensions have ended without an agreement, just hours before South Korea was due to begin an artillery exercise on the border island that North Korean guns attacked last month.

North Korea has warned there could be "catastrophic" effects if the South Korean military goes ahead with its plans in the disputed area around Yeonpyeong Island.

As preparations went ahead Monday for the live-fire drill - a military exercise using live ammunition - the South Korean military ordered everyone on Yeonpyeong and adjacent islands into air-raid shelters.

There were unconfirmed reports that the artillery exercise would be delayed several hours, until the afternoon, due to foggy weather.  

The focus of the crisis shifted to the Korean peninsula after diplomatic efforts collapsed at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Russian U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin emerged from hours of talks late Sunday and told reporters that Security Council members could not agree on wording of a statement urging the two Koreas to exercise "extreme restraint."   Churkin said it would be better if South Korea did not hold military drills at this time, but at that moment journalists and others on the islands were already being ordered to take shelter.  

The U.S. ambassador at the U.N., Susan Rice, said most Security Council members wanted a strongly worded condemnation of North Korea's two attacks on the South this year.  However, Rice said several nations - presumably including China, North Korea's closest ally - would not agree.  

The U.S. envoy, speaking separately after the Security Council session ended, also reiterated Washington's view that South Korea has the right to conduct military drills in the Yellow Sea, and has done so without any deception.

Seoul says hostile action by North Korea has killed at least 50 of its citizens this year.

North Korea's November 23 attack on Yeonpyeong Island killed four people, including two civilians, and an explosion on March 26 that sank a South Korean warship in the same area killed 46 sailors.   An international investigation concluded the ship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo, but Pyongyang has vehemently denied any role in the sinking.

During the emergency talks at the U.N. Sunday, Churkin said Security Council members discussed appointing an international envoy to begin diplomatic talks with both sides.  The Russian diplomat said the talks started too late to pursue that goal, and that too many members were unable to act without consulting their governments about the wording of any statement.

Rice said she would not expect the Council to agree on a joint statement regardless how long the meeting lasted.

No one would name the countries to which they were referring.

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson has been in North Korea trying to resolve the tense situation, and he told a reporter (for CNN) Sunday that his talks in Pyongyang had made "some progress."  Specifically, Richardson, said a North Korean general was receptive to his proposal for setting up a hotline between North and South Korean forces.  

Richardson's four-day trip to North Korea was due to end Monday.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs