- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
S. Korea prepares for possible N. Korean attack
YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean destroyer prowled the sea and fighter jets screamed across the skies Tuesday in preparation for possible North Korean attacks a day after the South staged provocative artillery drills on an island the North shelled last month.
North Korea has said it would not retaliate for the exercises off Yeonpyeong Island — reversing its earlier threats. A senior South Korean government official, however, said that the lack of response so far does not mean Pyongyang is backing down, noting that North Korea thrives on “surprise” attacks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Pyongyang considers the waters around the island — a tiny enclave of fishing communities and military bases within sight of North Korean shores — its territory, and similar drills last month triggered an artillery barrage that killed four South Koreans in the first attack targeting civilian areas since the 1950-53 Korean War.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who made an unofficial visit to North Korea this week, praised Pyongyang’s “statesmanlike” restraint.
Mr. Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who has served as an unofficial envoy to North Korea in the past, said in Beijing on Tuesday that during the trip North Korean officials agreed to let U.N. atomic inspectors visit its main nuclear complex to make sure the facility is not producing enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. That, Mr. Richardson said, could provide an opening for a resumption of negotiations aimed at dismantling the North’s nuclear program.
North Korea pulled out of six-nation talks to provide Pyongyang with aid in exchange for disarmament in April 2009 but since has said it is willing to resume them.
“North Korea talks a great game. They always do,” Mr. Crowley said in Washington. “The real issue is what will they do.”
In Seoul, meanwhile, top officials defended South Korea’s decision to carry out more drills despite calls in some quarters for restraint amid fears of all-out war, and said the military was prepared for any future North Korean aggression.
Seoul’s decision to push ahead with the routine drills in the face of North Korean threats of nuclear war and pressure from China and Russia indicates a new willingness by President Lee Myung-bak’s government to use provocations of its own to counter North Korean aggression. Seoul already has cut aid to the impoverished North and refused to participate in moneymaking joint tourism projects in North Korea.
Accused of acting too slowly and too weakly last month, Mr. Lee has threatened airstrikes if the South is hit again and ordered more troops to front-line islands. On Tuesday, he gathered his national security advisers for strategic talks.
“When it provokes, we will firmly punish North Korea,” Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told lawmakers before leaving for the security meeting Tuesday.
Mr. Kim acknowledged facing pressure to cancel the drills, but leaders “relieved our people’s anxiety about security and created a sense of unity with firm and consistent military measures.”
Pyongyang denounced the 90-minute exercise as a “reckless military provocation” but held its fire. However, the Korean People’s Army showed no signs of pulling back.
SA-2 ground-to-air and ground-to-ship missiles have been deployed by North Korea in the west — where the Koreas dispute their sea border — and are poised to fire artillery, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unidentified military official.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- N. Korean news agency: Kim Jong Un's uncle executed
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow