South Korea to boost forces on Yellow Sea border

Policemen patrol past wreckage of houses destroyed by North Korean artillery shelling on Yeonpyeong island.
Policemen patrol past wreckage of houses destroyed by North Korean artillery shelling on Yeonpyeong island. Reuters

South Korea has warned it will completely revise its rules of engagement to respond more strongly to attacks, two days after North Korea shelled a South Korean island.


Ground forces will be "drastically" reinforced, including those on five islands near the disputed Yellow Sea border, the presidential office said after an emergency security meeting chaired by President Lee Myung-Bak.

Seoul has also warned it will boost border forces, as the nuclear-armed regime threatened more strikes if it faced a "reckless military provocation".

North Korea’s bombardment of an island belonging to its arch-rival killed two civilians along with two marines and shattered many homes.

Pyongyang attacked its neighbour in response to a large-scale joint South Korean and US exercise, professor Noh Jong-sun at Yonsei university in Seoul told RFI.

“They organised one of the largest military exercises on 23 November, which including 70,000 army, 500 airplanes, 60 helicopters, 50 ships, 900 tanks," Noh says. “Four-hour live ammunition exercises threatened psychologically the North Korean army."

Seoul is again preparing to take part in military exercises with the United States in a bid to deter its neighbour. US aircraft carrier USS George Washington has been dispatched to the Korean Peninsula.

China, which has come under growing pressure to rein in its ally North Korea, has expressed concern over the planned joint military exercises.

But foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei simply declared that Beijing has "taken note of relevant reports and express [ed] concern"

Earlier, the foreign ministry released a statement by Premier Wen Jiabao saying China opposes "any provocative military acts" on the Korean peninsula and urging all sides to show restraint.

"China is firmly committed to maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and opposes any provocative military acts," Wen said.

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