By Nitum Jain:
As chaos ensued on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, the world wondered what exactly is North Korea up to. The two nations have been at loggerheads since a long time; the war between them didn’t end in 1953 but just continues in the form of assassination attempts, torpedo attacks, cross-border firing and finally, air raids.Â 57 years since the first open battle, another one seems to linger in the near future as South Korea has decided to not let this one go without strong retaliation.
Mr. Lee Myung-bak, President of South Korea said, “Hundreds of statements and meetings wouldn’t work. I think it’s a duty for the army to respond with action. We can never tolerate unconditional attacks against civilians.”
23rd November turned into a day straight from hell for the residents of this South Korean border village when fires engulfed residential areas and a military camp. Several buildings including Yellow Croaker History Museum, Haeseong Motel, the shrine of General Im Gyeong-up, and an ammunition dump were aflame and were damaged beyond repair. All it took was 20 minutes and 50 shells; result was the death of at least two civilians and two marines and not to forget, many people were forced to flee from their homes and watch their abodes burn down in front of their eyes.
This stunt by the notorious North Korea has attracted much condemnation from Seoul, Washington and Tokyo while China, which has been North Korea’s main benefactor, remains mum, and Pakistan seems to be emerging as a silent supporter. South Korean troops have been put on the highest level of non-wartime alert backed by firm US support; today the USS George Washington (American nuclear powered super carrier) left Tokyo to participate in a joint military exercise with South Korea in waters near the attacked area.
Explanation has been given by the North, saying that it was the South who fired first where actually the South had merely carried out a scheduled military exercise which residents nearby had been informed about beforehand.
What is more disturbing is that this has followed the recent revelation of the growing nuclear power of North Korea. Sig Hecker, a Stanford professor, had toured the Yongbyon nuclear facility in the country and had been astonished to see the rapid development, the construction of a 25 megawatt light water nuclear reactor and the thousands of gleaming centrifuges were plain evidence of nuclear progress. If the world didn’t have enough to digest, the bombing sure has everyone shaken badly.
Hecker was informed that they wished to get the construction of the reactor complete by 2012 , which Hecker did point out was an unrealistic goal, they remain resolute as the year marks the 100-year anniversary of former dictatorÂ Kim Il Sung‘s birthday; in fact all their projects are scheduled for completion by the infamous year. North Korea just says that it’s going to keep the nuclear toys and the world should just deal with it. Often is said that Earth will end a nuclear death and the calendar has been dog-eared on 2012 in many a predictions. Is North Korea going to play the Devil?
The writer is a Sub-Editor of Youth Ki Awaaz.
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