North Korea warns of 'brink of war'

2010-11-26 08:01

Seoul - North Korea warned on Friday that planned US-South Korean military drills are pushing the peninsula to the brink of war, as a US military commander headed to an island devastated this week by a North Korean artillery barrage.

North Korea's state news agency said drills this weekend involving South Korean forces and a US nuclear powered supercarrier in waters south of Tuesday's skirmish between the rival Koreas are a reckless plan by "trigger-happy elements" and that the manoeuvres target the North.

"The situation on the Korean peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war," the dispatch from the Korean Central News Agency said.

The comments came ahead of a planned visit on Friday by General Walter Sharp, the US military commander in South Korea, to the island targeted by the North Korean attack to show solidarity with ally Seoul.


Four South Koreans - two marines and two civilians - were killed in the hour-long skirmish on Tuesday after North Korea unleashed a hail of artillery on the Yeonpyeong, but the island was quiet on Friday morning, with most residents having evacuated to the mainland.

Marines with M-16 rifles patrolled a seawall, while others gazed toward North Korea from a guard post on a cliff. Technicians worked to restore communication lines. Several stray dogs growled near destroyed houses.

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

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has ordered reinforcements for about 4 000 troops on Yeonpyeong and four other Yellow Sea islands, as well as top-level weaponry for the soldiers and upgraded rules of engagement that would create a new category of response when civilian areas are targeted.

He also sacked his defence minister amid intense criticism over lapses in the country's response to the attack.

In scenes reminiscent of the Korean War 60 years ago, dazed residents of Yeonpyeong island this week foraged through blackened rubble for pieces of their lives and lugged their possessions down eerily deserted streets strewn with bent metal.

"It was a sea of fire," resident Lee In-ku said on Thursday, recalling the flames that rolled through the streets of this island that is home to military bases as well as a fishing community famous for its catches of crab. The spit of land had only six pieces of artillery.

Pressure on China

North Korea blamed South Korean drills this week as the motivation behind its attack - but Lee said the South could not afford to abandon such preparation now.

"We should not ease our sense of crisis in preparation for the possibility of another provocation by North Korea," spokesperson Hong Sang-pyo quoted President Lee Myung-bak as saying. "A provocation like this can recur any time."

Washington and Seoul also ratcheted up pressure on China, North Korea's main ally and biggest benefactor, to restrain Pyongyang.

Without criticising the North, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao responded by calling on all sides to show "maximum restraint" and pushed again to restart the six-nation talks aimed at persuading North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programmes in exchange for aid. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, meanwhile, cancelled a trip to Seoul this week.

  • preshengovender69 - 2010-11-26 08:09

    Why are North Korea and South Korea fighting if they are both Chinese ?

      2coolnick - 2010-11-26 08:19

      Hey, how is the work at the AG???

      dyl - 2010-11-26 08:23

      communism and democracy and apparently the 2 cannot occupy the planet without bombing each other..

      Monde - 2010-11-26 08:24

      they are too blind to see...

      JW - 2010-11-26 08:33

      Dude... really?...Thats like saying all people who are black must be Zulu...thats just ignorant. The Koreans have a culture completely unique to the Chinese.

      gmck21 - 2010-11-26 08:37


      green_goblin - 2010-11-26 08:40

      they are north chinese and south chinese

      zorromci - 2010-11-26 08:43

      Why did US and Russia experience a cold war, why are Pakistan and India enemies? Human nature cant face that our beliefs and ideologies are no better than the next guys...

      people.3000 - 2010-11-26 10:23

      As I have it, North Korea launched the attack to get USA back to the negotiation table between North and South, because USA doesn't like the fact that North Korea want to be backed by the Euro and not the US Dollar... Funny how... Iran, Iraq, Afganistan, North Korea all want to be backed by the Euro and not the Dollar and all are "enemies" of the States... makes you think, our way or the high way...

      Arthur Phili - 2010-11-26 10:44

      The one country went communism and the other one went free-market. The result is one is dirt poor and the other filthy rich. In order to keep in power the communist country makes the other one out to be a terrible enemy. This is similar to South Africa. We have a government which is very much socialist and communist these days and the enemy is people with money not affiliated with the ANC.

  • Newbie - 2010-11-26 08:16

    I too anticipate war

  • brigs - 2010-11-26 08:20

    um, have they not been at 'the brink of war' for the last 10 years?

  • brigs - 2010-11-26 08:23

    @ peshengovender - um they are not Chinese. They are Korean. one Asian is not like another Asian. Thats like calling - a Zulu a Sotho or an English speaking south African - Afrikaans. Or The Irish - English.

      green_goblin - 2010-11-26 08:41

      I think he was meaning it as a sarcasm

  • James - 2010-11-26 08:26

    North Korea warned on Friday that planned US-South Korean military drills are pushing the peninsula to the brink of war And shelling South Korea isn't?

  • James - 2010-11-26 08:27

    North Korea warned on Friday that planned US-South Korean military drills are pushing the peninsula to the brink of war And shelling South Korea isn't? Please, wipe them NK from the map

  • AJ - 2010-11-26 08:36

    "We are allowed to bomb you, but you are not allowed to do military drills". With a mindset like that, was cannot be far off. Why do they make such a big deal about the million man army of the north in any case, it's not like hand-to-hand combat would be used?

  • BigMoose - 2010-11-26 08:52

    Go ahead and nuke each other. There are billions of them. More sushi for the rest of the World.

      Ann-Mari - 2010-11-26 09:10

      Do you have any idea how many South Africans there are currently in South Korea??? And that Shusi is Japanese??

      ray.romans - 2010-11-26 09:20

      No Ann-Mari, Sushi is Japanese.

      lutho.somdyala - 2010-11-26 09:50

      Sushi comes from Japan, I am not sure if by billion you mean Chinese or Korea? South Africans are so race conscious and sensitive about race and nationality it is sad to see how ignorant we can be about others!

  • kevin.vanblerk - 2010-11-26 08:56

    "US-South Korean military drills are pushing the peninsula to the brink of war" LOL, it is North Korea that pushing to the brink of war, they will deserve what they get, they asked for it.

      bonesagain - 2010-11-26 12:02

      Do not forget that North Korea has the biggest army in the world - bigger than the USA. They gave the US carrots before, so I wonder who ahould watch out?

  • bill - 2010-11-26 08:58

    The real problem is that the North is supported by China ( And SA) while the South is a strong ally of US. The danger is a war by proxy , but given the poor state of the US econmy , I guess they will appease China.

  • GT - 2010-11-26 09:04

    And these are the wise men that Julius and Floyd are hanging with. When are the chinese going to pull rank here and stop this nonsense?

  • cameronester - 2010-11-26 09:07

    Mat 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. Mat 24:8 But all these things are the beginning of travail. Mat 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all the nations for my name's sake.-Jesus Christ.

      woatshe - 2010-11-26 10:07

      Speak to me, I'm closer...

      rog - 2010-11-26 10:17

      So amazing to see things happend the way the bible predicts it.If you wanna know, get to know God and His word!!!

      Zara - 2010-11-26 10:26

      LOL at woatshe!

      Corry - 2010-11-26 13:26

      All that shit has been happening since before the fairytale book was written. You see that is how religion operates, use random "predictions" to keep themselves credible.

  • lutho.somdyala - 2010-11-26 09:48

    'Why are North Korea and South Korea fighting if they are both Chinese ?" In response to the comment above, If you are able to place a comment on a news website then I am sure you can use the great invention called "GOOGLE" so that you can brush up on your general knowledge and not risk embarrassing yourself with such blatant ignorance, go now, before you create further damage1 gawsh, "Both Chinese"? What are mess!ROLF

  • pop101 - 2010-11-26 09:49

    I get a feeling that if the South don't react or do something, these bombings will continue. As I wrote this, I saw a new report stating that more explosions heard from the NK mainland. China better speak up soon or all hell is going to break loose.

  • Totman - 2010-11-26 10:01

    I am not sure what the 2 aim, but I know the following. More trade for America if taken away from Chinese control. That is after a war when trading is permitted. North Korea is one of the countries that is on the USA list that needs to transform. The son, that will take over, is more modern orientated and that can also be a reminder from his dad that they hate the west while knowing that his son must quietly transform to democracy. However, getting a few deals now in place before son takes over can put him in a better position with good deals force down through the old regime. Economically the North can also over-shadow the South, in manufacturing, if they suddenly change. That can make Chine the untouchable no 1 in the world because North is their small brother. Knowing that a dictator, that is usually half mad, is still running the country, while a new intelligent leader is on his way can be a worry for USA. Maybe the time is now right for USA to push the right buttons.( Seeing that the South are indirectly gets controlled by USA.) The new leader can change and China will be the friend. That will definitely be the last pion that cause the power shift east. We know North is half crazy, but are there not more happenings behind the seen that we do not hear off??? Remember we only get fed half the story. Even there side of the story gets reported to us by the same people!!! I am not fond of them, but neither of lose ends........

      pop101 - 2010-11-26 10:09

      "Can" this "can" that. To many assumptions to my liking, but I can see your point. I truly believe that it is about land and border disputes, and of course the whole communism vs democracy thing.

      Totman - 2010-11-26 10:26

      I presume you right, but the more I put out, the more ( I hope ) ideas can come forward. I am hoping that it is a straight forward issue. However, history told us differently, when "money people" were involved.

  • JDuvenhage - 2010-11-26 10:22

    I hope North Korea smears the South, China and the American. Viva THE KPA!

  • hemant230778 - 2010-11-26 11:35

    If war does come, it will be a nuclear war. One can hope that this is an attempt to scare the US and S.Korea and any other allies into waving the white flag. I wonder what the citizens have to say about the matter?

  • Emile - 2010-11-26 21:08

    plan B kill it with fire

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