About five hours ago, North Korea fired 200 rounds of artillery at an inhabited South Korean island called Yeonpyeong. South Korea responded with a fighter jet deployment and 80 rounds of artillery. In other words, it looks a lot like the two Koreas are in a shooting war.
This could escalate badly. North Korea argues that the attack was a reasonable response to South Korean military exercises. An unofficial North Korean spokesman, Kim Myong-chol the executive director of the Centre for Korean-American Peace , stated that “If the South continues its dangerous behavior, Seoul will be the next target. It will be a sea of fire. Nuclear war could start at any point.”
It could also cycle down. The island in question has 1300 inhabitants. It’s not the heart of the Korean peninsula. The US and China have already called for an end to hostilities; maybe someone will listen.
There aren’t a lot of great resources to follow the conflict right now. Twitter essentially nothing in English – the Korean language commentary may be more useful. CNN has an article that covers the basics. The Wall Street journal has a little more context. Perhaps most useful is coverage from the Guardian, which has live updates on its news blog.
(photo credit: sludgegulper) North Korean map of the peninsula