South Korea to defy North by sending in troops
South Korea's president vowed today to increase the number of troops on the island hit by a North Korean artillery barrage.
The North immediately countered by warning of more attacks if the South carried out any “reckless military provocations”.
“We should not let our guard down in preparation for another possible North Korean provocation,” South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said during an emergency meeting in Seoul. “I think a similar North Korean provocation could come at any time.”
“The government has decided to sharply increase military force, including ground troops, on the five islands in the Yellow Sea and allocate more of its budget towards dealing with North Korea's asymmetrical threats,” said Hong Sang-Py, the president's senior public affairs secretary.
Yeonpyeong Island, home to military bases as well a fishing community of 1,300 people, looked like a battle had been fought there today, with homes and shops completely flattened and the streets strewn with blackened rubble, mangled window frames and shattered glass.
Hundreds of residents have fled the devastation for the mainland but a few were still rooting around in the rubble looking for belongings and spending nights in underground shelters.
South Korea strengthens military near border after attack from North
Sudden spike in tension in the world's fastest growing economic region is putting mounting pressure on China to rein in its ally; U.S., South Korea to hold joint military exercises next week.
South Korea said on Thursday it would increase troops on islands near North Korea with Pyongyang warning it would follow its bombardment earlier in the week with more attacks if its wealthy neighbor tried any "provocations".
The sudden spike in tension in the world's fastest growing economic region is putting mounting pressure on China to rein in its prickly ally. South Korean media reports said Tuesday's artillery attack was likely personally ordered by reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
The United States and South Korea are to hold joint military exercises next week, with the aircraft carrier USS George Washington participating, although KCNA made no mention of that.
Many analysts expect the plan to send the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the joint exercises will enrage the North and unsettle Chin
Beijing has said previously that it sees any joint U.S.-South Korea exercises in the waters between the Korean peninsula and China as a threat to its security and to regional stability.
Again, for the reasons stated, this episode could spiral out of control rapidly. It could also end up with a China-U.S. confrontation. This situation is worth watching VERY closely.