On November 23rd, North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells onto the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in the Yellow Sea. The attack killed two South Korean marines and two civilians and injured at least seventeen others, including civilians. South Korea returned fire. The South Korean government called the attack "a clear armed provocation" and said the North's "reckless shelling of civilian targets is unpardonable."
In a written statement, the White House Press Secretary said, "The United States strongly condemns this attack and calls on North Korea to halt its belligerent action and to fully abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement. The United States is firmly committed to the defense of our ally, the Republic of Korea, and to the maintenance of regional peace and stability."
The shelling came just days after Dr. Siegfried Becker, former Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, reported that North Korea has constructed what appears to be a uranium enrichment facility using gas centrifuge technology - a potential source for weapons grade nuclear material. U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth said the U.S. regards "this development with great seriousness."
North Korea must cease its provocative and irresponsible actions against its neighbors, fully abide by the terms of the Armistice, and adhere to its international obligations.
The United States remains committed to the defense of its ally South Korea and to peace and stability in the region.