On Tuesday 23, the president Lee Myung-bak of South Korea gave the order to his military officials to punish North Korea for its attacks, stating that is necessary to stop the communist regime from performing any additional provocation.
“The provocation this time can be regarded as an invasion of South Korea territory. In particular, indiscriminate attacks on civilians are a grave matter.” Commented President Lee during his visit to the headquarters of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in central Seoul.
The incident occurred when North Korea fired over 100 coastline artillery rounds on the western sea border onto Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday afternoon. The attack killed to marines and injured several others. On the small island, three civilians were wounded; it also set fire on fisherman homes and the forest area, a marine corps base was damaged too. This settlement is just south of the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime border after the end of the armed conflict between both countries on 1953.
Immediately after the South Korea army launched a counterattack, firing almost 80 K-9 self-propelled artillery shells aimed at the North coastal areas. The crossfire lasted close to an hour.
“Given that North Korea maintains an offensive posture, I think the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force should unite and retaliate against (the North’s) provocation with multiple-fold firepower… I think enormous retaliation is going to be necessary to make North Korea incapable of provoking us again,” added the President.
The comments of president Lee happened after several emergencies meeting with presidential aids and security-related ministers at the underground bunker of compound Cheong Wa Dae. It involved the participation of Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, Home Affairs Minister Maeng Hyung-kyu and Won Sei-hoon, chief of the state spy agency.
Kim Hee-jung spokesman, Cheong Wa Dae stated that several intelligence agencies are trying to figure out North Koreas intentions, and dismissed any rumors of President Kim Jong-il’s death. The spokesman said that North Korea attacks might be related to one of the Souths Korea annual military exercises.
The Foreign ministry officials discussed with the United Nations the possibility to refer the case to the global organization.