Monday, March 15, 2010


It's less than a week since North Korea announced that it would no longer abide by the armistice that halted the Korean War.  Since there was never a truce signed, the North and South have technically been at war this entire time, only both parties agreed to an armistice and to cease combat operations.

This is apparently not the first time North Korea has done this; a news story from the Korea Times on 27 May 2009 reports an increase in vigilance from South Korea after the North announced an end to the armistice earlier that day as well. 

Last week's announcement is likely just a scare tactic from Pyongyang to gain more leverage in its nuclear goals, and hopefully it will amount to nothing.  But in the past few months there have been several naval encounters where North and South Korean navies have fired upon one another. 

And to top it all off, this morning there were two series of alarm signals broadcast on loudspeakers that each went on for several minutes.  Having lived in a tornado prone area in Tennessee, it sounded like an emergency weather warning; having seen enough WWII movies, it also sounded like an air raid siren. 

If my students are to be believed, tornados don't hit South Korea, or any really bad weather for that matter.  So let's hope they were just testing the system.

Update: 27 March

A South Korean naval vessel sank in the Yellow Sea today after an "underwater explosion", with 46 sailors still missing.  Around the same time, other South Korean ships fired on an "unidentified vessel" on the North Korean side of the maritime border.  No word yet on the cause of the explosion, or whether the mystery vessel was involved.  Hopefully the two events were unrelated, and the unfortunate incident with the South Korean ship will be the result of accident or error, not northern aggression.  We really don't need anything to further exacerbate the tensions between the two Koreas.

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