“I think enormous retaliation is going to be necessary to make North Korea incapable of provoking us again,” insisted South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who termed North Korea’s artillery strike on a military base an “invasion of South Korean territory.”
The Obama Administration has vowed to defend South Korea and US Air Force chief Gen. Schwartz has also offered to “pitch in” in any South Korean strikes against the North in the future. Some 28,000 US troops remain along the border between the two nations, which have remained in a state of war for over half a century.
Firefighters extinguish a fire in Yeonpyeong Island November 24, 2010 after the island was hit by artillery shells fired by North Korea.
US aircraft carrier heads to Korean peninsula
2 more bodies found on island, raising death toll to 4; US exercises were planned before exchange of artillery fire between North, South Korea.
People look as smoke rises from South Korean Yeonpyeong Island after being hit by dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea November 23, 2010 in this picture taken by a South Korean tourist.
Sixteen South Korean soldiers and three civilians were injured; the extent of casualties on the northern side was unknown.
Lee Hong-ki (2nd L), military operation division chief of South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, holds a briefing after North Korea's firing on South Korean Yeonpyeong Island, at Defence Ministry in Seoul November 23, 2010.
The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused and began firing artillery into disputed waters, albeit away from the North Korean shore, the North retaliated by bombarding the small island of Yeonpyeong, which houses South Korean military installations and a small civilian population.