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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid