North Korea attacks South.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier carrying 75 warplanes and a
crew of over 6,000, shipped out towards Korean waters on Wednesday. According to US officials in Seoul, the carrier
left Japan and was expected to join naval exercises with South Korea
Tuesday, North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire after the North
shelled an island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two
South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending
civilians fleeing for shelter.
US Forces Korea pointed out in a
statement that while the exercises were "planned well before yesterday's
unprovoked artillery attack, it demonstrates the strength of the ROK
(South Korea)-US alliance and our commitment to regional stability
through deterrence," emphasizing that the exercise was defensive in
nature, according to Reuters.
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Tensions rise after North, South Korea exchange heavy fire
Also on Wednesday, South Korea said it found the burnt bodies of two male civilians on the island attacked by North Korea one day before.
South Korean Coast Guard said the two construction workers were found
Wednesday. They were believed to be in their sixties. The discovery came
day after a frightening military skirmish between the Koreas ratcheted
tensions on the peninsula to new extremes.
The clash, which sent South Korea’s military on high alert, was one of
the rivals’ most dramatic confrontations since the end of the Korean
War, and one of the few to put civilians at risk, though no non-military
deaths were immediately reported.
Sixteen South Korean soldiers and three civilians were injured; the extent of casualties on the northern side was unknown.
The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military
drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul
refused and began firing artillery into disputed waters, albeit away
from the North Korean shore, the North retaliated by bombarding the
small island of Yeonpyeong, which houses South Korean military
installations and a small civilian population.