North Korea fires at South Korean island

North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire on Tuesday. The exchange was begun by North Korea, which fired at a South Korean island near their western border.

South Korea returned the fire, and South Korean officials are accusing North Korea of violating the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.  The North Korean attack left at least 2 South Korean marines dead and wounded 16 others.

China, which has close ties to both countries, has called for calm and is encouraging both nations to work toward peace and stability. Sources at the United Nations have said that a Security Council meeting is in the process of being organized and that the Council will be meeting to discuss the day’s events very soon (Kwang-Tae Kim, “North and South Korea exchange artillery fire,” Globe and Mail, 23 November 2010).

Tension around North Korea is beginning to rise once more as reports from a U.S. scientist, Siegfried Hecker, indicate that the North Koreans recently built a facility for producing highly enriched uranium, which could be used to expand the North Korean nuclear arsenal (David E. Sanger, “North Koreans Unveil New Plant for Nuclear Use,” New York Times, 20 November 2010).

Photo: U.S. Army Korea

Tags: Korean War, North Korea, Nuclear weapons, South Korea, U.N. Security Council