Nov. 29 – North Korea’s military actions on Tuesday, November 23, have caused tensions in the region to run high. The following is a timeline of events over the past week:
North Korea shells Yeonpyeong Island, a South Korean island in the Yellow Sea that is roughly 80 kilometers west of Incheon and 12 kilometers south of the coast of Hwanghae Province, North Korea. Two marines and two civilians are killed in the attacks. Various heads of state express indignation at the North’s actions and global stocks plunge. China offers a muted response.
The United States plans on stepping up its joint military exercises with South Korea in an effort to take a more “robust” stance against the North, an official source told ABC News.
Stocks continue to decline, but South Korea in a statement attempts to assuage investors’ worries by stating that it is willing to pump liquidity into markets if needed.
The USS George Washington, a U.S. Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier carrying 75 warplanes and a crew of 6,000, heads for Korean waters, defying Beijing’s request that aircraft carriers remain uninvolved in military exercises close to its “economic territory.”
Japan’s government threatens sanctions and gold jumps as global stocks continue their decline.
A FOX News pundit calls for the United States to “destroy” North Korea.
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young steps down in the face of widespread criticism of South Korea’s lack of response to North Korean aggression.
Reports surface that along with the USS George Washington, the United States has sent destroyers Lassen, Stethem, and the Fitzgerald to the region. A missile cruiser and attack submarine will also remain at the ready.
In South Korea, Kim Kwan-jin, a new reform-minded career military man, is tapped for the defense minister position.
North Korea bristles as U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises begin; hours after, China proposes to host an emergency six-party meeting (China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, United States) with in an effort to diffuse the situation.
Military drills continue. Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables from the past three years expose the views of world diplomats who have simulated an eventual collapse of North Korea. Data showing purchases by North Korean shell companies of prohibited materials for weaponry, lax anti-nuclear proliferation efforts by China toward its regional ally, and Iran acquiring missiles from North Korea were also released.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak warns the North against further attacks while taking responsibility for what he deems as a failure to protect his nation.