South Korea started an annual military drill called Safeguarding the Nation. Immediately after the drill began, North Korea accused South Korea of firing into her territorial waters and began shelling Yeonpyeong, a South Korean island, in retaliation. Two South Korean soldiers died in the attack. This was the first time North Korea used her artillery on South Korea since the end of the Korean War.
In response to the North’s attack, Lee Myung-bak ordered his military to punish North Korea “through actions,” not words.
“I think enormous retaliation is going to be necessary to make North Korea incapable of provoking us again,” said Lee.
South Korea responded to the attack by firing about 80 artillery shells at the North.
The media’s reaction to the attack was mixed. The western media seemed to cower in fear.
In an op-ed published by the Financial Times, Aidan Foster-Carter, a research fellow at Leeds University, pleaded with America and China to calm both sides and bring everyone back to negotiations.
The New York Times urged South Korea to restrain herself. The Times also urged the Obama administration to pressure China into reining in the North.
In East Asia, the media response was much more animated.
“What happened is nothing but an act of war,” said the Mainichi Shimbun.
The Korea Times called the attack a “crime against humanity” and said the North “should not go unpunished.”
“As the North has gone beyond the tipping point in committing aggression, the South has no choice but to correct this misdeed through a powerful counterattack,” said the Dong-A Ilbo.