At 0534GMT, North Korea began shelling the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. The shelling lasted about an hour, killing two South Korean marines and injuring sixteen marines and three civilians.
Read the HuffPost Article here, and a more detailed article from the BBC here.
Either the big shots in North Korea are just messing with their neighbors in the South and the U.S., or this is something serious.
If this was just Kim Jong Un flexing his military muscle as the heir apparent, then the matter might pass without further conflict.
I’m also guessing this is an awkward and stressful moment for China, North Korea’s supposed ally. If Pyongyang decides to attack again, the U.S. might be forced to help defend South Korea, at which point the the North might seek help from the Chinese, at which point Japan and Russia will have to weigh in on the issue, and this time the six-parties probably won’t be talking.
Also, the BBC article quotes a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry as saying that it is imperative to restart the six party talks as soon as possible. No kidding. But while this is probably what everyone (maybe except for the North Koreans) still wants, isn’t it, for lack of a better word, so lame for the Chinese to be advocating six party talks right after a country has been bombarded by artillery?
One thing we need to keep in mind while looking at the situation in North Korea is just how little we know about the Communist Regime. While Kim Jong Il is the official leader, we know very little about who makes up his inner circle or who his close advisers are. The North’s official reason for the military action was that South Korea has been undergoing numerous exercises in the region despite their repeated warnings, but there are many reasons of which we can speculate as a result of us knowing so little about the North Koreans.
For all we know, it might well have been a loose cannon in the North Korean military who ordered the strikes without seeking prior approval from Pyongyang. Or, as I mentioned above, it might have been Kim Jong Un demonstrating to his future subjects that he will continue his father’s glory.
Whatever the reason was, the critical thing to do now is to find out more about the North Korean regime so that we could make some substantial predictions about the country’s actions in the future.