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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs