Updated as of 3:00 a.m.–A reliable source on the ground in Korea has talked to Cougar News and revealed that North Korea launched MIG fighters during the situation. However, the source refused to comment on the number and location of these fighters only saying that “they were up and their radars went active too.”
Updated as of 2:50 a.m.— Yonhap News agency is now reporting that the ROE–rules of engagement– have been toughened. Defense Minister Kim Tae-young was questioned by the Korean parliament on the response.
“We will toughen our rules of engagement to allow the military to strongly respond to any North Korean provocations.” Kim told law makers.
About 13 minutes after the North’s attacks, South Korea returned fire with some 80 cannons from K-9 155mm self-propelled howitzers and scrambled six fighter jets. The fighter jets, however, didn’t engage because they need approval from the presidential office before unleashing counter attacks.
“It was insufficient for the military to strike back with only 80 cannons from K-9 self-propelled howitzers,” Rep. Yoo Seong-min of the ruling Grand National Party said, adding that such howitzers are inappropriate to destroy the North’s coastline artillery hidden in caves.
For more on this developement, you can read the Yonhap article HERE
Update as of 11:50 p.m.–Yonhap News Agency is reporting that the bodies of two civilians were found on Yeonpyeong island today. This discovery brings the total number of fatalities up to four killed and 19 wounded.
It is also being reported that 70 percent of the of the fields and forests on the island have been destroyed by the wild-fire ignited by the bombing.
Updated as of 11:10 p.m.— Barbra Walters, in an interview with President Obama airing this friday asked the President directly about our relationship with South Korea and what if any response to the situation will be.
Q:Is an attack on South Korea an attack on the United States?
A:South Korea is our ally, it has been since the Korean War. And we strongly affirm our commitment to South Korea as part of that alliance.
Q: Will we send warships or perhaps put US troops on alert?
A:I’m not going to speculate on military matters at the moment, but I am going to consult with President Lee
CNN is currently reporting that sources within the U.S. Military in Korea will have an aircraft carrier group in the area move up their timetable for an upcoming drill saying:
“The USS George Washington carrier strike group will join Republic of Korea naval forces in the waters west of the Korean peninsula from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 to conduct the next exercise in the series announced at the 2+2 meetings in July,”
CNN is stressing however, that the drill with the South Korean Navy were planned well before of the artillery strike on Yeonpyeong island by North Korea.
Updated as of 10:50 a.m–CNN and Yonhap are reporting that South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak is contemplating “enormous retaliation,” against the North. He has been quoted as saying to his Joint Chiefs of Staff that “the provocation this time can be regarded as an invasion of South Korean territory.” He also urged his military to punish North Korea “through action,” and not just words
Update as of 10:35 a.m.Some footage of the shelling on the island has been released by South Korean media. Multiple artillery strikes can clearly be seen in this video with people then running for cover.
Update as of 9:55 a.m. — According to the BBC, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak condemned the bombings while promising to retaliate with missile attacks against the North if faced with “further provocations.”
President Barack Obama called the act “outrageous” and “provocative” on the part of Pyongyang. CNN reports that Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said that U.S. forces in the area have not taken any additional measures.
“Obviously we’re in close contact with U.S. forces, Korea and our allies there in monitoring the situation,” Lapan said.
Update as of 3:30 a.m. — According to the BBC, North Korea has released the following statment in regards to the artillery strike: “The South Korean enemy, despite our repeated warnings, committed reckless military provocations of firing artillery shells into our maritime territory near Yeonpyeong Island… [Pyongyang] will continue to make merciless military attacks with no hesitation if the South Korean enemy dares to invade our sea territory by 0.001mm.”
Update as of 3:17 a.m. — In a government press conference, it was confirmed that two Korean soldiers are dead with 15 wounded, five of those seriously. 3 civilians were also injured (BBC). The government is also calling for calm among the populous as allies around the world offer their condolences and support.
South Korean officials have confirmed that North Korea bombed the border island of Yeonpyeong with at least 200 artillery shells Tuesday, reportedly killing two South Korean marines while injuring 16 soldiers and three civilians, according to the Yonhap news agency.
The attacks took place at around 2:30 p.m. local time. At least 50 of the rounds landed directly on the island. No American casualties have been reported as of yet.
South Korea then returned about 80 rounds of artillery and deployed fighter jets as a precautionary measure.
American military forces in the surrounding areas have also been put on a heightened state of alert as well.
North Korea has yet to comment on the incident. This artillery strike is the most serious provocation against the South since the March 26th torpedoing of the Cheonan, a South Korean Pohang-class corvett.
The attack may have been sparked after South Korea’s military was conducting drills in the Yellow Sea, near the border of the two nations. North Korea reportedly sent over a letter of protest of the drills.
According to the report, a local fisherman claimed there to be about 1,300 residents on the island. Images from Yonhap television show plumes of smoke rising from the island as well as homes caught on fire.
The South Korean government called an emergency meeting of security ministers in a bunker underneath the presidential palace in Seoul.
North Korean television has reportedly not shown any footage or news of the event.