Tensions are dramatically on the rise again today after an exchange of fire between North and South Korea. The North Koreans shelled the island of Yeonpyeong during South Korean military drills which were carried out along the disputed sea border.
The attacks apparently hit Yeonpyeong because of the large military installations there, and two South Korean marines were said to be killed, as well as some 16 others wounded. South Korea responded with what it is calling “intense retaliatory fire,” which they claimed caused a “considerable” number of casualties in the North. The secretive North has yet to confirm any casualties on their side, however.
The Obama Administration vowed to defend South Korea at any cost, and the 28,000 US troops still deployed along the border between the two nations are in a very precarious situation indeed as the situation seems to be escalating.
The clash comes in the wake of South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young announcing that his country was considering asking the US to deploy nuclear weapons on their soil. All such weapons had previously been withdrawn in 1991. With North Korea having advanced its own nuclear weapons arsenal in recent years and the two sides now on the verge of a shooting war (technically the resumption of the previous war, as the two sides never signed a peace deal to end it), the nuclear weapons will likely only enhance tensions.