Armistice - what armistice?
And what has triggered this off? North Korea not been in the news for more than 48 hours? Getting in some artillery practice... against civilians. Is it because he's so lonely?China's official response has been somewhat muted and reluctant to blame anyone, anyone North Korean especially:
BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said China has noticed reports about the allegedly exchange of fire between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Tuesday, urging related sides to do things conducive to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.
"We have noticed related reports and are concerned about the issue. The real situation needs to be confirmed," said spokesman Hong Lei at a regular briefing.
"We hope related parties to do things conductive to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula," Hong Lei said.
One ROK soldier was killed and 13 others were injured when the DPRK fired Tuesday scores of artillery onto a ROK island and also into waters off the west coast of the Korean peninsula near a tense maritime border, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
Reportedly fired at 2:34 p.m. local time, some shells landed on ROK's Yeonpyeong Island and local residents are currently moving to shelters.
ROK fired back in response, and the military is now put on a heightened alert, officials said. It also deployed fighter jets to the west sea, according to Seoul's Yonhap News Agency.
The Japanese have responded by calling it a crisis:
Later in the day, the Japanese government set up an information coordination office in the crisis management center at the prime minister's office, Japanese government officials said
The report mentions the cause/provocation:
The North's firing comes as the South Korean forces conducted a routine drill in waters near the island, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
How "routine" was this drill? If it was even just a few metres (on the sea) across what the North deems to be their version of the Northern Limit Line then it's all on.
The line was unilaterally set by the U.S.-led United Nations military forces on August 30, 1953 after the United Nations Command and North Korea failed to reach an agreement. It is not officially recognized by North Korea. In particular, it is not included into the Armistice Agreement of 1953 between the two states.
They need very little provocation to cause an outrage - the submarine attack a few months back was just another reminder of how hostile the regime is to the South. After almost 60 years it seems the friction is as hot as ever - and now the North can threaten them with nukes it is unlikely they will find reasons to dial it back. It all comes down to how measured the South's response is - so as to not cause another round of retaliation from the North.