Friday, December 3, 2010

The Korean Crisis

This year has shown to be a tumultuous time of brewing tension between separated North and South Korea. Earlier this year, in March, the Cheonan, a South Korean navy patrol ship sank near the disputed western border with North Korea. There were suspicions of North Korean involvement as there had been other incidents of clashes between the two countries' ships before. In May of 2010, South Korean officials formally accused North Korea of being responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan. In reaction, North Korea responded by calling South Korea's conclusion a “falsification” and threatened to take action against it. So what was America doing during all of this? Well in July, the Obama administration announced that they would impose further economic sanctions against North Korea. This past month has been the most dynamic time for the conflict so far. In the beginning of November, South Korea renounced its call for an apology from North Korea for the Cheonan incident. In addition, North Korea showed a visiting American nuclear scientist a new, secretly built facility used to enrich uranium, confronting the Obama administration to consider the possibility that the country was preparing to expand its nuclear arsenal. Finally, most recently, on November 23rd, North Korean ships shot dozens of shells at a South Korean island, killing two South Korean soldiers and set off an exchange of fire in one of the most serious clashes between the two sides in decades. As this year comes to an end, I hope to see a definitive change in the relationship between the two nations. The tension and disparity between North and South Korea has been going on for too long and as a person of both South Korean and North Korean descent, I would sincerely hope to see a reunified Korea in my lifetime.      

by: Steph Hur

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