August 10, 2010

North Korea launches artillery barrage

POLITICS - Yesterday North Korea fired an artillery barrage of approx. 120 shells off the coast of South Korea in an escalation of the ongoing feud over the sinking of the Korean ship Cheonan on March 26th by a North Korean torpedo shot from a submarine. Some of the shells landed near an inhabited island in South Korea.

Two days ago North Korea also seized a South Korean fishing boat and is now holding the fishermen hostage, accusing them of being spies sent by the South. 4 South Koreans and 3 Chinese were aboard the fishing boat.

Today there is a war of words going on South Korea is promising a stern response and North Korea is threatening a war of retaliation. The artillery barrage and abduction of fishermen is likely a response to the recent 4-days-long war games the United States and South Korea held 2 weeks ago.

The three Chinese will probably be released because North Korea doesn't want to anger China. There is growing distrust between North Korea and China. China has become tied economically to the United States and is becoming increasingly unhappy with having a rogue state so close to its doorstep.

Any war (especially since North Korea now possesses nuclear missiles) on the Korean Peninsula will effect China and it is a careful balancing act for the Chinese government to keep the North Koreans from thinking they're a threat about to be removed.

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