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North Korea had planned to fire more shells than the roughly 170 rounds that fell on Yeonpyeong Island and the waters around it, but a counterattack by South Korea damaged their equipment, South Korean military officials said yesterday.
The South, however, did not describe the extent of the damage, adding to the list of unanswered questions over the first inland skirmish between the two Koreas since the Korean War.
The attack by the North left two marines and two civilians dead. “After the North Korean military fired roughly 150 rounds in the first 12 minutes of the attack, they prepared for a bigger attack but were unable to do so once our military retaliated with K9 howitzers,” said a South Korean military official. Another 20 rounds were fired after the initial attack.
The K9 is a South Korean self-propelled howitzer developed for the South Korean military by Samsung Techwin. The weapon can fire six 155-millimeter rounds per minute. “Because the K9 is very accurate, the North Korean military bases were probably reduced to rubble,” said the official. South Korean Minister of National Defense Kim Tae-young said during a hearing at the National Assembly’s Defense Committee yesterday that images of the North Korean coastline were hard to obtain “because of the clouds in that direction.” The military could not confirm how much damage had been done by the South’s retaliatory response. The defense minister said military officials were working to determine the extent of the damage.
More questions were lobbed at Kim yesterday, with lawmakers demanding to know why the South Korean military had taken 13 minutes to start firing back after the North initiated firing at 2:34 p.m. “According to our military tactics, I believe we did very well if we responded in 13 minutes,” said Kim after lawmakers accused the South Korean military of being slow to respond. The defense minister said the soldiers had to take shelter during the first attacks and rotating the guns in the direction of the attack took time, said Kim. “To fire while you’re on the receiving end is like committing suicide,” said one South Korean military official.
The minister also explained that the North’s attack was unrelated to the joint Hoguk exercise between South Korea and the U.S. and that North Korea had bombarded the island because of monthly shooting exercises near the disputed maritime border between the two Koreas. “We are indeed in the middle of Hoguk exercises but the training that took place near Yeonpyeong Island was not part of the Hoguk exercises, but monthly shooting exercises,” said Kim.
When asked if any of the South Korean rounds fired during the exercise had crossed the border accidentally, triggering the attack, Kim said the South Korean military prepares “with caution” and keeps their firing “4 to 5 kilometers [2.5 to 3.1 miles] away from the Northern Limit Line.” North Korea had sent statements before the attack on Tuesday, warning South Korea to halt the Hoguk exercises. Kim said that North Korea had complained about the routine firing exercises in the past, but it was the first time for them to have acted on it.
In a report turned into the Defense Committee of the National Assembly yesterday, the Defense Ministry confirmed that North Korea had fired roughly 170 rounds toward Yeonpyeong Island. “Around 80 rounds landed on the island, while about 90 rounds landed in the waters surrounding the island,” the report said. The South Korean military fired 80 rounds from K9 howitzers. The Defense Ministry also said troops have been “status ready” for firing since the attack, with five fighter jets on standby.
Originally posted by CanadianDream420
That's a huge development. Maybe it's own thread?..
U.S. urges China to send a clear signal to N. Korea regarding its provocative acts (DPA)
UN drafting response to North Korea shelling of South Korea island (Israel Radio)
UN special rapporteur for human rights to DPRK: Despite this week's "military actions" multilat meetings involving N. Korea should go on.
ROK's new defense minister is Presidential security adviser Lee Hee-Won
Lee Hee Won is a former army general, who served as deputy commander of U.S. and South Korea forces between 2005 and 2006,
Seoul city gov't: "citizens have returned to normal life and Seoul's economy also has been back to normal."
“The ROK Army is facing a new environment that requires a new paradigm of strategy,” Lee, former deputy commander of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command, said in a keynote speech at the 2010 Army Policy Forum at the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan, Seoul.
“Against that backdrop, the Army should make efforts to combine hard and soft power. These efforts will help the Army to build a ‘smart, future-oriented’ structure, as well as create a synergy effect to better respond to situations both in peacetime and wartime,” he said.
"We were doing firing drills here until 2:30 pm, and right after then artillery shells started flying this way," the captain said, pointing at their anti-aircraft gun which was badly mangled in the blast.
The attacks -- the first shelling of civilians since the 1950-53 Korean War -- also hit administrative offices, a police station and several homes, knocked out electricity to half the population and started forest fires.
"Thank God the shells didn't reach the pre-school and elementary school," where children were studying at the time, said coastguard Jo Young-Hyun.
US-ROK joint maritime exercise bring Korean peninsula to brink of war.
Originally posted by Vitchilo
More details on the attack...
Residents desert remote S.Korean island turned war zone
"We were doing firing DRILLS here until 2:30 pm, and right after then artillery shells started flying this way," the captain said, pointing at their anti-aircraft gun which was badly mangled in the blast.
So South Korea admits that they fired first... but not towards North Korea.
NKorea warns of "brink of war"
YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea – North Korea warned Friday that planned U.S.-South Korean military drills are pushing the peninsula to the brink of war as a U.S. military commander headed to an island devastated this week by a North Korean artillery barrage.