RSS

Tag Archives: North Korea

South Korean Defense Chief confirms North Korea behind GPS jamming last week

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin

SEOUL, March 9 (KATAKAMI.COM) — South Korea’s defense chief confirmed Wednesday that North Korea was responsible for the disruption of navigational devices using a Global Positioning System (GPS) last week, adding that he will reinforce measures to cope with future electronic attacks by the North.
 

As repordted by YONHAP News on Wednesday,  Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told a parliamentary session that signals were detected originating from the North’s western border city of Kaesong and were also believed to be emitted from Mount Kumgang on the Korean Peninsula’s east coast.

“Besides Kaesong, Mount Kumgang is believed to be a site where the GPS jamming signals were originated,” a participant quoted Kim as saying at the closed-door session.

Seoul’s military officials have said the signals were sent from the North’s western border cities of Kaesong and Haeju, but it was the first time that Kim mentioned Mount Kumgang as a potential origin of the electronic attack.

Kim said the North’s attempt to block military communications was ineffective because most military devices use a military-only satellite navigation system.

“To cope with a future disruption of GPS signals, the ministry will step up a cooperation system among private, government and military sectors,” Kim said, according to the participant.

The North’s latest electronic attack may have been intended to disrupt the joint military exercises by South Korean and U.S. forces that run until Thursday, military officials here said.

North Korea has been thought to have been responsible for the intermittent failure of GPS receivers since last year.   (*)

 
Comments Off on South Korean Defense Chief confirms North Korea behind GPS jamming last week

Posted by on March 9, 2011 in World News

 

Tags: ,

Seoul Once Again Urges Pyeongyang to Take Back 27 North Koreans

South Korea

SOUTH KOREA, Mar 09, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) —- The South Korean government has once again called on North Korea to take back 27 of the North Koreans who drifted into South Korean waters on a fishing boat last month.

As reported by Arirang News on Wednesday, Seoul’s Red Cross said it sent another message to its northern counterpart Tuesday afternoon, informing Pyeongyang of its intention to repatriate the 27 people, and not the four who expressed their wish to remain in the South.

The message went on to say that while Seoul is determined to respect the wishes of the four, it is willing to meet with the North’s Red Cross to confirm their decision in a fair and objective manner.

To this, North Korea said the South’s rejection to bring the four defectors to the border just highlights the fact that the defections are fabricated calling it an act of abduction.   (*)
 
Comments Off on Seoul Once Again Urges Pyeongyang to Take Back 27 North Koreans

Posted by on March 9, 2011 in World News

 

Tags: ,

South Korea to urge North Korea to take responsible attitude before dialogue: official

Photo File : Vice Unification Minister Um Jong-sik

Please also visit : KATAKAMI.COM and INDONESIAKATAKAMI.BLOGSPOT.COM

 

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — South Korea will stick to its current policy on North Korea, seeking to get the communist neighbor to understand it should respect Seoul and take a responsible attitude if it wants dialogue, a senior official said Wednesday.

“We should try to get North Korea to change in a desirable way and take a sincere and responsible attitude so that fair South-North relations can be formed,” Vice Unification Minister Um Jong-sik said in a radio interview. “The door for dialogue is always open, but (the North) should respect its dialogue counterpart.”

North Korea has made a series of dialogue overtures after sharply escalating tensions with a deadly artillery strike on a South Korean island in November. In its New Year’s message, Pyongyang stressed the importance of improved relations and dialogue with South Korea. (*)

 
Comments Off on South Korea to urge North Korea to take responsible attitude before dialogue: official

Posted by on January 5, 2011 in World News

 

Tags: ,

U.S. envoy holds talks with S. Korean negotiator over N. Korea

Stephen Bosworth (L), the U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy, holds talks with South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac in Seoul on Jan. 5. (Yonhap)

 

Please also visit : KATAKAMI.COM and INDONESIAKATAKAMI.BLOGSPOT.COM

 

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — The U.S. special envoy on North Korea met with South Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator Wednesday for discussions expected to focus on how best to use the option of dialogue to get Pyongyang to cease provocations and give up nuclear programs.

Talk of restarting the long-stalled nuclear disarmament negotiations with the North has gained traction as the U.S. prepares for a summit with China, which has strongly called for dialogue to reduce tensions, and as Pyongyang has shown a growing willingness to talk.

Stephen Bosworth, Washington’s special representative for North Korea policy, called for “serious negotiations” as a central strategy to deal with the communist nation, as he arrived in South Korea on Tuesday for talks with Seoul’s main nuclear envoy, Wi Sung-lac.

“We believe that serious negotiations must be at the heart of any strategy for dealing with North Korea, and we look forward to being able to launch those at a reasonably early time,” Bosworth told reporters at Incheon International Airport.

On Wednesday, Bosworth held talks with Wi. Though details were not immediately available, their discussions were expected to include the conditions that the North must meet before resuming the nuclear talks, such as halting its nuclear development and allowing international nuclear monitors back into the country.

Bosworth later met with Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, saying at the start of the meeting that he hopes South Koreans are “impressed and reassured by the very close coordination of policy that we’ve been undertaking over the last several months.”

Bosworth is scheduled to meet with Unification Minister Hyun In-taek later in the day.

His trip to the region, which will also take him to China and Japan, comes ahead of a summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao set for Jan. 19 in Washington where North Korea is expected to be a key topic.

China has called for restarting the six-party nuclear talks to curb tensions that were heightened after North Korea’s deadly shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island in November and the revelations that it has a uranium enrichment facility for a suspected new atomic weapons program.

North Korea has also been signaling a growing willingness to resume negotiations.

In its New Year’s message issued Saturday, Pyongyang stressed the importance of improved relations and dialogue with South Korea and said that it wants to achieve peace in the region and make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

South Korea and the U.S. have urged Pyongyang to first demonstrate through action its commitment to give up nuclear programs and improve relations with Seoul if it wants to reopen the nuclear talks, a stance that reflects deep skepticism about a regime that has abused negotiations to only get concessions.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley reiterated the demand.

“We do want to see specific things from North Korea, including a reduction of tension between North and South, an end to provocations and a seriousness of purpose with respect to” a 2005 disarmament-for-aid deal, he said. “We have to be assured that dialogue would be constructive. We don’t just want to have talks for talks’ sake.”

The six-party talks have been deadlocked since the last session in December 2008 due to a North Korean boycott. The talks bring together the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S.  (*)

 
Comments Off on U.S. envoy holds talks with S. Korean negotiator over N. Korea

Posted by on January 5, 2011 in World News

 

Tags: , ,

North Korean special forces dressed in South Korean uniforms

South Korean soldiers in conventional woodland pattern uniforms. (Yonhap file photo)

Please also visit : INDONESIAKATAKAMI.BLOGSPOT.COM

SEOUL, Dec. 28 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — Some of North Korean special forces stationed at the border with South Korea have dressed up in military uniforms with the same camouflage pattern as South Korean soldiers’ uniforms, a military source here said Tuesday.

The North’s tactic, confirmed by the South’s military for the first time this year, is believed to be intended to effectively confuse South Korean troops as the special forces have held drills to hone their ability to infiltrate the South, the source said on condition of anonymity.

“It was confirmed, for the first time this year, that North Korean troops at the front-line land border are wearing uniforms with the same woodland camouflage pattern (as South Korean troops),” the source said.

“Our judgment is that the North’s special forces stationed there are staging drills for intrusion by wearing the uniforms.”

South Korea’s military has been developing a new combat uniform with digital camouflage since 2008. It has already been supplied to the South’s special warfare forces and will be distributed from next July to other troops.

The South’s military is now considering distributing the new uniform earlier than scheduled, in line with the North’s move, the source said.

The North is believed to have some 200,000 special forces, an 11 percent increase from two years earlier, according to data by the South’s defense ministry. Of them, the North is believed to have completed deployment of some 50,000 troops along the border with the South.

The North’s bolstering of its special warfare capabilities means that the country intends to send such troops deep into South Korea to conduct a variety of attacks in case of conflicts, defense ministry officials said.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have remained acute following a series of military aggressions by the North, including the torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in March and the Nov. 23 shelling on a border island.

The bombardment on Yeonpyeong Island near the Yellow Sea border killed two South Korean marines and two civilians, marking the first attack on a civilian area in the South’s territory since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.  (*)

 
Comments Off on North Korean special forces dressed in South Korean uniforms

Posted by on December 28, 2010 in World News

 

Tags: ,

South Korea Concludes Artillery Drill, Scrambles Jet Fighters

Dec. 20, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean F-15K fighter jets were in the air on standby in case of North Korean provocations as South Korea began a live-fire artillery drill near the Yellow Sea border with North Korea on Dec. 20. This is a file photo taken in December 2008. (Photo : Yonhap)

 

Please also visit : INDONESIAKATAKAMI.BLOGSPOT.COM

December 20, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — South Koreans are anxiously waiting to see if North Korea will make good on its threat to take military action in response to an artillery drill on Yeonpyeong island. The exercise came just hours after an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council failed to ease tensions, and after an American politician said North Korea is willing to accept nuclear inspections.

South Korea defied diplomatic pressure and went ahead Monday with firing artillery into the Yellow Sea for 94 minutes, escalating its confrontation with the communist North.

Defense officials stress the shelling was to the southwest, away from North Korea. But North Korea claims that area is its territory and, in the days since the drill was announced, has warned it could lead to war.

In Seoul, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun termed the live-fire exercise routine and legitimate.

Dec. 20, SEOUL, South Korea -- Seen here are K-9 self-propelled howitzers mobilized for South Korea's maritime artillery live-fire drill on Dec. 20 on Yeonpyeong Island bordering North Korea in the Yellow Sea. This is a file photo taken in February 2010. (Photo : Yonhap)

Kim says the artillery drill is for self-defense and part of the country’s sovereign right.

A few hours before the exercise, the United Nations Security Council failed to reach a consensus on lowering tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Diplomats say China, among other nations, would not back a statement condemning North Korea for recent aggressive behavior, including the shelling of Yeonpyeong island last month.

After the U.N. talks failed, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice defended South Korea’s decision to go ahead with the artillery drill. She noted the two fatal attacks this year blamed on North Korea – the sinking in March of a South Korean navy ship and last month’s shelling of Yeonpyeong island.

“If the events of the last year have shown anything it is that the Republic of Korea has every need and right to ready its self defense having lost 50 citizens simply over the course of the last nine months,” said Rice.

A Chinese vice foreign minister on Monday renewed his country’s call for more talks and said no one has the right to provoke conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Dec. 20, SEOUL, South Korea -- Citizens watch breaking news at Seoul Station on the South Korean army's live-fire drill that started near the inter-Korean maritime border in the Yellow Sea on Dec. 20. (Photo : Yonhap)

Also Monday, a veteran American diplomatic troubleshooter wrapped up a trip to Pyongyang. He was quoted by the CNN news network as saying the North Koreans have agreed to allow U.N. nuclear inspectors back into the country.

Former ambassador Bill Richardson (the governor of New Mexico) was quoted as saying the North Koreans also agreed to negotiate the sale of 12,000 fresh fuel rods so they could be shipped out of the country.

For seven years, the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea have tried to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons programs in return for aid and greater diplomatic recognition. Despite agreeing to do so, Pyongyang has tested nuclear weapons and recently revealed a new fuel production facility.

Members of South Korea’s political opposition unsuccessfully appealed to President Lee Myung-bak to cancel Monday’s artillery training.

Democratic Party lawmaker Chung Dong-Young is a former cabinet minister who previously negotiated with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

“It[‘s] irresponsible of the president if he panders to the tastes of the conservative forces,” he said. “The president should be responsible if the artillery fire from Yeonpyeong island brings another dangerous exchange of fire, which might go out of control.”

Last month, conservatives criticized the president for not responding forcefully to the North Korean attack, which killed four South Koreans.

In the early 1950’s, the two Koreas fought a three-year year. A truce has been in place since 1953, but no peace treaty has been signed.  (*)

 
Comments Off on South Korea Concludes Artillery Drill, Scrambles Jet Fighters

Posted by on December 20, 2010 in World News

 

Tags: ,

China calls for North Korea talks

The USS George Washington is taking part in joint US-South Korean military exercises over the next few day in the Yellow Sea. Photograph: Charles Oki/EPA

Please also visit : INDONESIAKATAKAMI.BLOGSPOT.COM

 

Time not right for six-way meeting in Beijing, says Seoul, amid military muscle flexing by North and South Korea.

November 28, 2010 (KATAKAMI / GUARDIAN.CO.UK) — China has called for emergency international talks over North Korea as Pyongyang reportedly prepared missile batteries and the US and South Korea launched joint military exercises.Tensions on the Korean peninsula are as severe as they have been at any time since the end of the Korean war in 1953, and a senior official in Beijing today suggested emergency talks between the six countries that had taken part in talks on Pyongyang’s disarmament.

Wu Dawei, the Chinese envoy to the peninsula, said representatives from Pyongyang and Seoul, China, the US, Russia and Japan, who have been meeting over the last seven years to discuss North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, should convene in Beijing early next month “to exchange views on major issues of concern”.

The talks themselves, moribund for two years after North Korea walked out, look unlikely to be resumed, with Seoul’s presidential office saying it was not the right time for such a move. But such an urgent intervention from China, North Korea’s only significant ally and the sole outside country with any sway over its actions, is significant, not least in underlining the gravity of the situation.

The Seoul-based Yonhap news agency reported that Pyongyang had placed surface-to-surface missiles on launch pads along its Yellow Sea coastline. The North’s military is also aiming surface-to-air missiles at South Korean fighter jets flying near the western sea border, the agency added.

Two South Korean marines and two civilians died on Tuesday when the North unleashed, without warning, an artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong island, which hosts both a military garrison and a small fishing community. The attack, seen as the most serious single military incident since the end of the war, destroyed dozens of homes , injured another 18 people, and set the South on a war footing.

North Korea described the civilian deaths as “regrettable” but blamed the South for placing residents on the island, which Pyongyang insists is North Korean territory, as human shields. The North also condemned a major US-South Korea military drill in the Yellow Sea, which began today.

The four-day exercise, involving the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, is believed to be taking place about 100 miles south of Yeonpyeong. While Seoul insists the exercise is both routine and pre-planned, the North’s National Peace Committee of Korea described it as “pretext for aggression and ignite a war at any cost”.

Pyongyang issued a series of warnings, and threatened to “give a shower of dreadful fire and blow up the bulwark of the enemies if they dare to encroach again upon [North Korea’s] dignity and sovereignty, even in the least.”

Seoul is being almost equally bellicose. At a funeral yesterday for the marines killed on Yeonpyeong, the South Korean military commander, Major-General You Nak-jun, laid flowers at an altar and vowed that his country would retaliate if there was a further attack from the North.

“Our marine corps … will carry out a hundred – or thousand-fold” in retaliation, he said at the ceremony. “We will put our feelings of rage and animosity in our bones and take our revenge on North Korea.”

Dozens of journalists have ignored South Korean military warnings about staying on Yeonpyeong, which is seven miles from North Korean territory. They and locals sought cover today after hearing new bursts of artillery fire. No rounds landed on the island.

Dai Bingguo, a senior Chinese foreign policy adviser, visited South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak. In unusually strong comments Lee made plain his concerns that Beijing was not exerting sufficient pressure on North Korea, calling on China to contribute to peace in a “more objective, responsible” manner.

The chairman of North Korea’s supreme people’s assembly, Choe Thae Bok, is due to visit Beijing from Tuesday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.

Since the Korean war ended, with a truce rather than a formal treaty, tensions between the two sides have risen and receded many times. However, the past year has seen particularly intense pressures, notably after a South Korean warship was sunk in March, killing 46 sailors. An international team of investigators concluded that a North Korean torpedo sank the vessel, although Pyongyang denies any involvement.

The latest crisis has already cost the South Korean defence minister, Kim Tae-young, his job amid accusations that the response to North Korea’s initial attack had been too weak. Now South Korea’s president has sent 4,000 troops as reinforcements to Yeonpyeong and other nearby islands with extra weapons and new rules of engagement that give them greater scope to respond if attacked.

 
Comments Off on China calls for North Korea talks

Posted by on November 28, 2010 in World News

 

Tags: , ,

Photostream : Nation mourns two marines killed by N. Korean attack

Nov. 27, SEONGNAM, South Korea -- South Korea holds a nationally televised funeral for two marines killed in an artillery clash with North Korea earlier this week, at a military hospital in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Nov. 27. The two marines and two civilians were killed in the Nov. 23 North Korean artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island. (Yonhap)

Honor guards carry the coffins of two dead marines who were killed by North Korea's artillery shells attack on Yeonpyeong Island, during a funeral at a military hospital in Seongnam, south of Seoul November 27, 2010. Four people were killed when North Korea lobbed scores of artillery shells on a South Korean island near the disputed sea border on Tuesday. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Lieutenant General Yoo Nak-Joon, commander of South Korean Marine Corps, salutes during the funeral ceremony for two marines killed during North Korea's attack on Yeonpyeong Island, at a military hospital in Seongnam. South Koreans vowed revenge and a tough line against North Korea as the nation grieved for two marines killed in the regime's artillery strike that caused global alarm this week. (AFP/Jung Yeon-Je)

Soldiers salute for two dead marines who were killed by North Korea's artillery shells attack on Yeonpyeong Island, during a funeral at a military hospital in Seongnam, south of Seoul November 27, 2010. Four people were killed when North Korea lobbed scores of artillery shells on a South Korean island near the disputed sea border on Tuesday. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The mother (R) of South Korean dead marine Seo Jung-woo, who was killed by North Korea's artillery shells attack on Yeonpyeong Island, cries during a funeral at a military hospital in Seongnam, south of Seoul November 27, 2010. Four people were killed when North Korea lobbed scores of artillery shells on a South Korean island near the disputed sea border on Tuesday. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

MARINE Military officers escort the mother of South Korean dead marine Seo Jung-woo, who was killed by North Korea's artillery shells attack on Yeonpyeong Island, after a funeral at a military hospital in Seongnam, south of Seoul November 27, 2010. Four people were killed when North Korea lobbed scores of artillery shells on a South Korean island near the disputed sea border on Tuesday. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Nov. 27, SEONGNAM, South Korea -- Families mourn as South Korea holds a nationally televised funeral for two marines killed in an artillery clash with North Korea earlier this week, at a military hospital in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Nov. 27. Two civilians also died in the Nov. 23 North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong Island. (Yonhap)

 
Comments Off on Photostream : Nation mourns two marines killed by N. Korean attack

Posted by on November 27, 2010 in World News

 

Tags: ,

President Lee checks follow-up measures after N. Korea's deadly attack

File : South Korean President Lee Myung-bak receives a briefing at the control centre of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Defence Ministry in Seoul November 23, 2010. North Korea on Tuesday fired dozens of artillery shells at a South Korean island, setting buildings on fire and prompting a return of fire by the South, Seoul's military and media reports said. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Jo Bo-Hee/Yonhap )

Please also visit : INDONESIKATAKAMI.BLOGSPOT.COM

 

SEOUL, Nov. 27 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was presiding over a security-related meeting on Saturday to check follow-up measures after North Korea fired a barrage of shots on a South Korean island earlier this week, officials said.

The meeting also comes one day before the U.S. and South Korea are set to begin military exercises in the Yellow Sea in a show of force that North Korea warned will take the peninsula to the “brink of war.”

Lee was discussing measures to counter another possible North Korean attack and studying ways to levy sanctions on the communist state, according to the officials.

On Tuesday, North Korea fired artillery on Yeonpyeong Island, a populated island in the Yellow Sea, killing four people, including two civilians.

The North Korea’s attack marked the first civilian deaths in an attack since the bombing of a South Korean airliner in 1987.

South Korea and the U.S. were set to launch large-scale naval exercises Sunday in another potent show of force against North Korea.

The nuclear-powered USS George Washington, with more than 6,000 sailors and 75 fighter jets aboard, prepared for the naval drills with South Korea in the Yellow Sea. The drills are set to run through Wednesday, and about 10 warships have been mobilized for the exercises.  (*)

 
Comments Off on President Lee checks follow-up measures after N. Korea's deadly attack

Posted by on November 27, 2010 in World News

 

Tags: , ,

SKorea mourns 2 marines killed in NKorea attack

Family members of Seo Jeong-woo, a South Korean marine killed in Tuesday's North Korean bombardment, cry during a funeral service at a military hospital in Seongnam, South Korea, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010. South Korea honored two marines killed in the artillery attack that was one of the worst bombardments of its territory since the 1950-53 Korean War (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Please also visit : INDONESIAKATAKAMI.BLOGSPOT.COM

November 27, 2010 SEONGNAM, South Korea  (KATAKAMI / AP)  – South Korea’s marine commander vowed severe revenge at a funeral Saturday for two marines killed in a North Korean bombardment, as the country prepared military maneuvers with the U.S. that have enraged the North and concerned China.

The commander, Maj. Gen. You Nak-jun, said the retaliation would be “thousand-fold” as dignitaries and relatives laid white flowers at a funeral altar following Tuesday’s attack on a South Korean island, which also killed two civilians in one of the worst artillery attacks on the country’s territory since the 1950-53 Korean War.

As protesters in Seoul demanded their government take sterner action against North Korea, the North issued new warnings against the war games scheduled to start Sunday with a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea.

The North called the games an “unpardonable provocation” and warning of retaliatory attacks creating a “sea of fire” if its own territory is violated. The comments ran on North Korea’s state-run Uriminzokkiri website a day after the North’s warnings that the peninsula was on the “brink of war.”

China, under pressure from the U.S. and South Korea to rein in its ally Pyongyang, urged both sides to show restraint while Washington played down the belligerent rhetoric, noting that the weekend war games were routine and planned well before last week’s attack.

“The pressing task now is to put the situation under control and prevent a recurrence of similar incidents,” Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton by phone, according to the ministry’s website.

The North’s artillery fire Tuesday destroyed civilian homes as well as military bases on Yeonpyeong Island in a major escalation of their sporadic skirmishes along the disputed sea border. The attack — eight months after a torpedo sank a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors — laid bare Seoul’s weaknesses in defense 60 years after the Korean War.

North Korea does not recognize the maritime border drawn by the U.N. at the close of the three-year war in 1953, and considers the waters around Yeonpyeong Island, just 7 miles (11 kilometers) from its shores, as its territory.

The heightened animosity between the Koreas comes as the nuclear-armed North undergoes a delicate transition of power from leader Kim Jong Il to his young, inexperienced son Kim Jong Un, who is in his late 20s and is expected to eventually succeed his ailing father.

Tuesday’s attack came days after North Korea revealed a new uranium enrichment program that could improve its ability to make and deliver nuclear weapons, sending the message that new regime is as tough and unpredictable as ever and highlighting the urgency of restarting disarmament talks with the North.

South Korea’s government, meanwhile, struggled to recoup from the surprise attacks, firing one defense minister and naming a new one Friday.

About former 70 special forces troops, wearing white head bands, scuffled with riot police in front of the Defense Ministry to protest what they called the government’s weak response to the attacks, pummeling the riot troops’ helmets with wooden stakes and spraying fire extinguishers.

“Let’s go!” the activists shouted.

The police, numbering several hundreds, pushed back with shields. Elsewhere in Seoul several hundred activists held a peaceful, but noisy rally to denounce North Korea.

China’s foreign minister met with the North Korean ambassador to Beijing, Chinese state media said — an apparent effort to trumpet China’s role as a responsible actor, and placate the U.S. and the South. China has expressed mild concern about the impending war games, in contrast to its strong protests over earlier rounds.

“The Chinese government is trying to send Pyongyang a signal that if they continue to be so provocative, China will just leave the North Koreans to themselves,” said Zhu Feng, director of Peking University’s Center for International and Strategic Studies.

China is impoverished North Korea’s biggest benefactor and one of its only allies.

In Washington, the Pentagon played down any notion that the weekend maneuvers with South Korea — set to include the USS George Washington supercarrier — were a provocation.

“We have exercised there regularly,” Capt. Darryn James, a Defense Department spokesman in Washington, said Friday. “And all of these exercises are in international waters.”

President Lee Myung-bak also has ordered reinforcements for the 4,000 troops on Yeonpyeong and four other Yellow Sea islands, as well as top-level weaponry and upgraded rules of engagement.

Most of the islanders fled to the mainland after Tuesday’s hail of artillery set off fierce blazes that destroyed many of their communities. It will take six months to two years for island communities to rebuild, disaster relief official Kim Sang-ryul said.

Soldiers assembled toilets Saturday for temporary shelters being built on the island by teams of relief workers.

In Seongnam, near Seoul, South Korea’s prime minister and marine commander joined some 600 mourners attending the funeral for the two dead marines at a packed gymnasium at a military hospital.

As a brass band played somber music, they placed chrysanthemums — a traditional mourning flower — before framed photographs of the two men, posthumously promoted and awarded medals of valor. One marine’s mother pressed her hand to her mouth, and fell forward in her seat in grief.

“Our marine corps … will carry out a hundred- or thousand-fold” retaliation against North Korea for Tuesday’s attack, said You, the marine commander. He did not elaborate.

Passersby paused at Seoul’s main train station to watch funeral footage on a big screen.

“Once the enemy attacks us, it is our duty to respond even more strongly,” said student Jeon Hyun-soo, 19. “The South Korean people want this.”   (*)

 
Comments Off on SKorea mourns 2 marines killed in NKorea attack

Posted by on November 27, 2010 in World News

 

Tags: ,