September 26, 2020

Yeonpyeong Island: What’s All The Fuss About?

Two years on from the bombardment of Yeonpyeong island, controversial military exercises look set to go ahead. What is it that makes these islands and waters so disputed?

Tensions surrounding the disputed Northern Limit Line are expected to heat up later this week as the second anniversary of the Yeonpyeong Island shelling approaches. The South Korean government has not only announced plans to hold field and simulated exercises on November 23rd (the day of the attack), but will also open a memorial hall on the island the day after the anniversary.

The North has responded with typical harshly-worded articles, though in notably fewer numbers than last year. Much of this criticism accuses the Lee government of using the second anniversary as a political ploy; for example, a spokesman for the North’s “Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea” called it an “effort to recover from the shameful defeat through renewed provocations and incite confrontation among south Koreans to ensure its stay in power.”  An article in the Minju Joson also said that the South’s plans sought to “create [an] environment favorable for the conservative forces' stay in power.”