In an early morning attack, an ire resemblence of what started the US Involvments of the reunification war of Korea commenced . Elevating the US in yet another crisis that could result with military involvement of US forces.
The attack began when Pyongyang warned S. Korea to halt military drills in the area, When Seoul refused, the north began shelling the South Korean-held island of Yeonpyeong. which is a military installation.
"A S. Korean Military Official stated: We were conducting usual military drills and our test shots were aimed towards the west, not the north."
"Despite our repeated warnings, South Korea fired dozens of shells.... and we've taken strong military action immediately"
According to the Korea JoongAng Daily reported whether a war would be declared that Defense Minister Kim Tae-young replied "Didn't it start already? we must stop it from expanding."
The exchange of shelling is a sharp escalatin in the attacks that flare up along the long disputed border between N. Korea and S. Korea. Also known as the 38th Paralell. Which was laid out by Colonel Dean Rusk and Colonel Charles H. Bonesteel,III divided the Korean pennisula after having to decide quickly the US Korean Zone of Occupation had to have a minimum of two ports. Rusk explained the decision; "even though it was further north than coud be realistically reached by US forces, in the event of Soviet Disagreement... we felt it important to include the capital of Korea in the area of responsibility of American Troops" ..."faced with the capcity of US forces immediately available, and time and space factors, which would make it difficult to reach very far north, before Soviet troops could enter the area".
The United States has more than 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called on North Korea to "halt its beligerent action" and that the US was firmly committed to the defense of South Korea, and to the "maintenance of regional peace and stability". China is North Koreas political and financial benefactor also appealed to both sides to remain calm and "to do more to contribute to peace and stability on the penninsua (Hong Lei, Foreign Ministry Spokesman- China).
Both the North and South Korean states have remained in a technical state of war for over 60 years because their three year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty in 1953.
To better understand the reasoning behind this. You have to understand what developed in the region at the end of World War II.
During the Potsdam Conference (July-August 1945), Korea was divided by the allies, (Russia and The United States) without consulting theKoreans, contradicting the Cairo Conference. (pgs 3, 15, 381, 545, 771, 719) On September 8, 1945 , LtG John R Hodge,USA) arrived in Incheon to accept the Japanese surrender south of the 38th Parallel (see Cairo Conference link North to Nakltng south to Yalu). as Governo9r of The United States Army Military Government in Korea General Hodge and the USAMGIK refused to recognize the provisional government of the Peoples Republic of Korea (PRK); these policies voiding popular sovereignty, provoked the civil insurrections and guerrilla warfare. "United States Army in in the Korean War. Policy and Direction: The First Year pg 3, 18)" James F. Schnabel. This combined with excluding the Koreans from the talks at the Moscow Conference (1954) The Korean Populace revolted; in the south, some protested , and rose in arms (sic).
In 1949 US Troops withdrew from Korea, and the Soviet Union left Korea in 1948, On Christmas eve 1949 South Korean Forces killed approx 87 people in the Mungyeong Massacere, blaming the crime on the cmmunist marauding bands.