November 23, 2012

North Korea Threatens South Korea: Yeonpyeong Island

Being threatened by their Northern counterparts is old news to South Koreans. They are so used to it, in fact, that they don’t even flinch when I say that North Koreans are threatening to bomb, shell, or start a war with South Korea.

The naughty North Koreans are at it again, and this time they are threatening a memorial service in honor of people that they killed two years ago when they shelled Yeonpyeong Island.

I can honestly say I thought war was going to break out in November 2010. This seemed to be a great possibility, considering that the North Koreans had been accused of torpedoing a South Korean Naval vessel known as the ROKS (Republic of Korea Ship) Cheonan in March of 2010. This incident left 46 South Korean sailors dead and 56 sailors wounded. The North Koreans claim they didn’t torpedo any ship, but the evidence points the finger at them.

Then, eight months later, the North Koreans shelled the island of Yeonpyeong. Two marines and two civilians died in that shelling, and 18 people were wounded. The reason the North Koreans gave for this attack is that the South Korean military was having live fire exercises in North Korean waters. The South Korean officer in charge said that this was a false accusation, because the artillery was being fired in a Southwestern direction (which is essentially in the opposite direction of North Korea, for the people who are not talented with a map).

Personally, I had just left South Korea at the beginning of November, and since I was not in South Korea, I was very worried about all of my friends that I had just left behind. Seeing all the smoke and hearing about the fires that destroyed the local buildings made me very nervous.

However, thanks to Facebook and a lot of them putting in their statuses that everything was fine and there was nothing to worry about, my mind was put to ease. It helped even more when I looked up Yeonpyeong Island and saw how far away it was from where I had been living, and how far away it was from almost anything.

Now here we are two years later, and I am back in South Korea, and the North Koreans are threatening to bomb South Korea for hosting a memorial service. For this memorial service South Korea has a naval firing drill and other events planned to honor their fallen soldiers. Some people would say that the firing drill is unnecessary, but it is a common thing to do for fallen soldiers. Americans, we bury our soldiers with a 21-gun salute. This is not really over the top for South Korea, but it is probably a political statement as well.

South Korea is not going overboard in my opinion, but North Korea is way out of bounds by saying this “commemoration of the so-called victorious battle on Yeongpyeong Island will lead to a second Yeonpyeong Island disaster as long as the (North) Korean People’s Army is standing firm guard….” This came from the North’s Koreans Central News Agency (KCNA). It is in really poor taste that the North Koreans are threatening a memorial service that they are directly responsible for.

I think this is just for show more than anything, because if North Korea continues to attack South Korea there will be a war in which there will be many Korean causalities, from both sides of the border. South Korea would eventually win, but at what cost and what would be gained?

The Bad: North Korea is trying to start trouble and threatening to bomb Yeonyeong Island again, which would kill more people.

Image Credit: Paul Stringer / Shutterstock

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Email