North and South Korea Exchange Artillery

North Korea fired artillery toward the South Korean border on Tuesday, killing at least one South Korean soldier and injuring fourteen. At about 2:30 PM KST, North Korea aimed at least 200 rounds of artillery toward Yeonpyeong Island, which is inhabited by about 1,500 people. In response, the South Korean military fired back with 50 to 80 rounds of artillery, and deployed fighter jets.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has called an emergency meeting of defense. He has ordered officials to “carefully manage the situation to prevent the escalation of the clash”, a spokeswoman stated.

It is possible that the attack on the island was linked to an annual nationwide military drill which the South Korean troops were beginning. The military drill, called “Safeguarding the Nation”, had been criticized by North Korea as “simulating an invasion of the North” and “a means to provoke a war”. The spokeswoman said that the possibility of a connection was being examined.

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Source: WSJ, CNN, NYT