Korean Peninsula on the 'brink of war': DPRK

Thursday, November 25, 2010

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak has put the South Korean military on its highest alert.
Image: Henrik Hansson Globaljuggler.

Tensions continue to rise between North Korea and South Korea following the shelling of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island by the North Korean Navy, and return fire by South Korean forces. Both sides have issued statements of increasingly hostile language, and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak put the military on its highest alert.

On his website, the President warned North Korea that "indiscriminate attack on civilians can never be tolerated" and promised "enormous retaliation" if North Korea should attack again. The state-controlled North Korean Central News Agency issued its own statement, threatening more strikes if South Korean naval forces cross the maritime border by "even 0.001 millimetre".

World leaders have been quick to condemn the North Korean shelling. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement in which he called the attacks "one of the gravest incidents since the end of the Korean War", but expressing his hope that differences be resolved by non-military means. The United States, which currently has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, called on the North to end the shelling, and affirmed its policy of defense of South Korea. The Chinese foreign ministry also issued a statement, saying that the country had "taken note of relevant reports" and expressed its hope that both sides return stability to the region. South Korea's defense minister Kim Tae-Young has resigned amid criticism of his handling of the situation. When asked about the shelling on the Glenn Beck Show, former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin remarked that "Obviously, we gotta stand with our North Korean allies" — a gaffe quickly corrected by Beck.