Korean Attack Firefight Madness: The Bullet Point Roundup of North and South Korea's Giant, Scary Game of Battleship

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If you have any siblings -- or know anyone with siblings -- you probably know that as children, fights can erupt between the two as tensions are basically lifelong. And you are probably aware of the cliche when a parent walks in a ravaged room with two bleeding, hair-pulled, bite-marked children, and each one points to the other: They started it!

Well, that's exactly what's going on right now in wargames between North and South Korea. It's somewhat terrifying.

Here's your geopolitical crisis of the week in a nutshell:

  • Things Were Chill: North Korea and South Korea were in the middle of an armistice in an otherwise perpetual, ongoing war.
  • In March, Some Ship Went Down: Eight months ago, a South Korean battleship near the maritime border of North Korean waters went down under attack. The ship fired a warning shot at a "flock of birds," supposedly, and something -- be it a North Korean missile, or some very Angry Birds -- struck back, killing some of the 104 sailors on board. South Koreans were at first reluctant to blame North Korea for this (?!?) but are now apparently putting it on them.
  • Licensed to Il: Things started getting funky last month, when North Korean officials named Kim Jong Il's son, Kim Jong Un, as the next leader of North Korea. Like everything else anyone in either Korea does, it was ostensibly seen by many as a sign of aggression.
  • Nuke Kid On The Block: Then, on Tuesday, American scientists were given a tour of North Korean facilities and happened upon some weapons-grade plutonium. You know, the kind nuclear weapons are constructed with! And then, today?
  • SHOTS (LITERALLY) FIRED: Yesterday, South Korea is performing a military drill when they say they fired shots into the south, away from the North Korean border.
  • Shell Games: The North Koreans -- basically looking for any reason to start some shit -- responded by firing 200 artillery shells at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. Two South Korean marines were killed; seventeen South Korean servicemen and three South Korean civillians were injured.
  • Retaliation Nation: South Korea strikes back! They then fire 80 rounds of artillery and scramble Top Gun-esque fighter jets in response.

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The sum total?

South Korea: "Homie Don't Play That." Broadcasting live from a bunker at the presidential stronghold, the President of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, calls the attacks "inhumane." He also told his military to "sternly respond" and also make sure that the "situation would not escalate." Which is kinda conflicting! That said, if North Korea messes with South Korea again, President Myung-bak promised "enormous retaliation" which it would appear is a step below "epic retaliation."

North Korea: "Say 'What' Again Motherfucker." North Korea actually, seriously told South Korea that if they move "even 0.001 millimeter" they're basically going to "murk" South Korea. They didn't actually say "murk" but you get the idea.

Meanwhile, Americans are purely concerned with strangers giving them handjobs as they go to stuff themselves with a marginally exotic bird that makes comical noises.

"To Be Continued," I guess.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

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