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North Korea Offers New Explanation

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The Island of Yeonpyeong, South Korea, in the Yellow Sea, is west of the mainland peninsula. This Island home of some 1500 residents has been damaged severely by the hour long rain of artillery fire from the angered North on Tuesday. The residents of the island – four dead, 18 injured – have sought refuge away from their homes; reports are that of the 1500, only 30 are left. According to witnesses, about 31 homes are destroyed, and “every building on Yeonpyeong” has been damaged.

To explain the bombardment, at the onset and following the barrages, North Korea blamed the attack on South Korean military drills; the North said a shot was fired onto the northern side of the disputed maritime border. Now Pyongyang has broadened the scope of the charge. South Korea, they accuse, provoked the massive bombardment by a “sinister calculation” on the part of the South, that, were North Korea not to respond to the military exercises, the world would conclude “tacit recognition” of the northern limit line – the border established but not recognized by the North in the 1953 agreement ending the Korean War.

One would expect that the people of South Korea would be reduced now to living in fear of the onset of war. But apparently, this is far from the truth. Instead, the public outcry has been against President Lee Myung-bak for his failure to retaliate with lethal force.The view is that the people of South Korea are angry that their weaknesses are exposed. The South Korean media call Lee Myung-bak “indecisive” and say he “fails to keep the people informed.”

The South Korean Defense Minister, General Kim Tae-young, has resigned, after 14 months of service in which South Korea saw the sinking by the North of the Naval Ship Choenan in the Yellow Sea, in what the South considered open water, as the ship was on site to assure the safety of crab fishermen. Now his service has again been tested by the new barrage to Yeonpyeong Island. The resignation of Kim Tae-young, it is stated, was a result of failing to keep ready forces in an area that has seen repeated military clashes. President Lee Myung-bak appointed Kim Kwan-jin, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as new Defense Minister.

Kim Seung-hwan, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Myungji University, describes the situation in his words: “The government is stuck in a dilemma because it has to take a carefully balanced approach that clearly demonstrates its resolve against North Korea while at the same time prevents a full-blown war on the peninsula.”


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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • DMZ

    A shell lands on the DRK side so they flatten a civilian target with artillery? So was it an DRK order? Or was it a tactical decision by some zealous ground crew? Either way the rules of engagement require that ROK destroy the opposing artillery. Therefore, culturally speaking- the DRK must now show an act of great kindness and level the field on the diplomatic front. Anything else at this point would be very rude and unfair to the current ROK administration.

  • Rude? Two countries, one supported by a superpower, hover on the brink of war, and you’re concerned about rudeness? Maybe everyone should just pause for a spot of tea. That’d make everything more polite.

  • hsr0601

    Pretty sure North Korea = China in the different names of one country, or a military branch & a lapdog.

  • Les Slater

    The U.S. forces in the area have been a provocation since 1953. South Korea has admitted firing shots in the direction of North Korean territory; they claim they didn’t reach. Why should anybody believe the South? In a situation where provocation keeps on increasing one has to respond quite definitely. The ultimate target of U.S. provocation is China.

  • John Lake

    The ultimate target of U.S. provocation is China.
    As the ultimate target of North Korean hostile intent is the U.S.

  • John Lake

    Les Slater:
    But please don’t interpret my comment #5 as agreement that the U.S. has evil intent toward China.

  • Les Slater

    John, 5 and 6. I don’t believe North Korea is the provocotive party on the peninsula.

    To the extent that the U.S. is armed to the teeth in and around Asia and is developing and deploying various ABM technologies, China, is indeed, the U.S.’s primary target.

  • John Lake

    I myself am of the opinion that China is a modern society, whose economy is well tied up with ours. They are still communist, but move toward a freer society daily. Did you know that Chinese children are required to learn English; a thousand phrases needed for graduation. China sees itself as the dominant nation of the world, and the impartial observer may have trouble dis-agreeing, especially considering our vast dept and deficit. The debt is the issue that will bring calamity or at least trouble in our generations to come.

  • Les Slater

    John, you still live in Chicago? If so maybe we could get together some time, over pizza and a beer at the Billy Goat Tavern and Grill. Look me up on facebook.

  • John Lake

    I must pass on the Pizza and Beer. I wasn’t aware you are a Chicagoan.
    I just completed a new article which includes your viewpoint regarding blame on the U.S. for the increased unrest. It should be published soon.

  • John Lake

    As it turns out, my thoughts as to China and her positions toward the U.S. and the free world were and are right on target. The news this evening, and it’s about 10:30 PM on Tuesday, makes reference to documents leaked in the WikiLeaks revelations, documents which leave little or no doubt but that China has lost previous sympathies toward Pyongyang; in fact China now sees North Korea, and the seemingly irrational North Korean President Kim Jong-Il, as a liability. Unbelievable but true: China would prefer, according to the leaked documents, to see Seoul in command on the Island, in spite of Seoul’s non-communist government. This we understand is because – here comes another “I told you so” – with clear thinking leaders on the peninsula, China has new and greater options for trade.
    Some of these leaks are dated. We make no predictions. China is the top pursuer of a return to negotiation, and seeks above all else, stabilization in the area.

  • So it’s Tuesday in Chicago, huh, John? Looks like you’re still using that time machine of yours. You know, the one where you have Sarah Palin running for president in 2004 and/or 2014. Hard to believe anyone pays attention to your political ideas when you can’t even get the day straight.

  • John Lake

    Alan your grammar and punctuation are beyond reproach. Unfortunately your content seldom if ever goes beyond unbearable contempt for anyone, and everyone.
    This is not a personal attack – merely constructive criticism. And how could it POSSIBLY MATTER what day it is??!

  • You tell me. If it doesn’t matter what day it is, why did you expressly state that it’s Tuesday?

  • John Lake

    Tired. Been on the move all day. Hungry, too.

  • Maybe you ought to meet Les Slater after all for pizza and beer at the Billy Goat Tavern and Grill.

  • Les Slater

    I read some of the wikileaks too. There is a lot of speculation, most turning out to be way off the mark. One thing that comes out quite clear though is that China does not want U.S. military forces any closer than just south of the DMZ. They know the U.S. has hostile intent towards it.

  • John Lake

    Search though I may, the only smoldering hostility from China toward the U.S. is cyberspace related, or concerns currency.

  • Les Slater

    John, have you read the New York Times ‘North Korea Keeps World Guessing’?

    It very clearly referes to China’s concerns.

    From the article:

    As for the United States, the cable said, “China would clearly ‘not welcome’ any U.S. military presence north of the DMZ”, the heavily mined demarcation line that now divides the two Koreas.