The Associated Press reports Russia has requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss rising tensions on the Korean peninsula. It looks as if South Korea has settled on Monday or Tuesday to conduct artillery drills off Yeonpyeong Island, as bad weather made conducting the tests over the weekend impractical. The rumbling from North Korea has grown increasingly alarming.
The AP reports North Korea threatened the South with “catastrophe” if it carried out the drills, and promised to “strike harder than before.” The previous strike on Yeonpyeong was hard enough to kill two South Korean Marines and two civilians.
According to the Xinhua news agency, North Korea also accused the United States of goading South Korea into provoking it, and said the planned artillery drills were an “absolutely unfair bellicose provocation” and an “intolerable tease.” You know the story: a prosperous free democracy saunters into an island bar, wearing a low-cut artillery battery that really shows off her well-fed population. What’s a psychotic communist basket case supposed to do when confronted with a tease like that?
Xinhua also reports China is “deeply worried about the situation.” Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun issued a statement saying “China had repeatedly told the parties that if blood were shed on the Korean Peninsula, the people on the two sides of the peninsula would be the first to suffer.” This is either a bizarre statement of the obvious, or a carefully worded warning to North Korea that they should settle down.
Residents of Yeonpyeong are said to be on alert, but no evacuations have been ordered. The Associated Press reports that “activists launched balloons containing about 200,000 propaganda leaflets toward the North from the island, which is only about seven miles from North Korean shores. The balloons also carried one thousand $1 bills, and DVDs containing information on the North’s artillery barrage last month.” I like their style, but I don’t know if those balloons are going to make the communist government feel more relaxed.