May 24, 2019

North Korea and South Korea exchange artillery fire

The South Korean Airforce is offering sight seeing flights over the Yellow Sea to see artillery shells falling on Yeonpyeong island.

North Korea has fired dozens of rounds of artillery onto a populated South Korean island near their disputed maritime western border and there are reports of casualties.

South Korean troops have returned fire and commanders in Seoul have scrambled F16 jets to overfly island after the shelling. South Korea’s YTN television said two people were injured, several houses were on fire and that shells were still falling on Yeonpyeong island, which has a population of about 1200 people.

The South Korean military went on its highest state of alert, the defence ministry said.

A ministry spokesman said: “A North Korean artillery unit staged an illegal firing provocation at 2.34pm local time and South Korean troops fired back immediately in self-defence.” Well that is a points victory for the North because obviously their ‘provocation’ was highly successful with the South taking the bait right away.

The countries’ western maritime boundary has often been a source of localised conflict between the two Korea’s. If there wasn’t such a sad history of suffering in the peninsula we could laugh off their bickering as being like two brothers fighting over nothing much.

The war in 1950-53 ended in a stalemate and has never officially ended with only a ceasefire in place. The North does not recognise the border that was unilaterally drawn by the United Nations at the ceasefire.

Every time some artillery shells get close to their use-by date they like to fire them off at some remote part of the South just to remind the South that they are still up there and they are still unhappy.