KOREA CRISIS: Basic Facts and Historical Context
Background to the Current Crisis
1. On Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 70,000 South Korean and American military troops were conducting war simulation exercises, dubbed “Hoguk [Defend the State],” a massive joint endeavor involving 50 warships, 90 helicopters, 500 warplanes, and 600 tanks, and slated to take place over a period of 9 days until November 30, 2010.
2. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea DPRK, or North Korea issued repeated warnings to the Republic of Korea ROK, or South Korea, demanding that South Korea halt the war exercises and cease its firing of artillery into North Korean territorial waters.
3. South Korean artillery units located in the West Sea Islands, just seven miles from the North Korean coast, engaged in firing exercises on November 23, 2010, for four hours. According to the South Korean Ministry of National Defense, the units on those islands, including Yeonpyeong Island, fired 3,657 times, or over 900 shells per hour, into contested waters claimed by both Pyongyang and Seoul near the Northern Limit Line NLL. Drawn unilaterally by the US Navy in 1953, the Northern Limit Line is not internationally recognized and has never been accepted by North Korea.