At 2245 local time (0945 Eastern), an explosion tore through the bottom of a South Korean naval vessel. The 1,200 ton, 104-passenger ship reportedly began sinking off the coast of South Korean-controlled Baengnyeong Island. ROK forces have scrambled to the area, which is a contested maritime boundary. An investigation is underway to determine whether the explosion was caused by a torpedo attack. Unconfirmed reports state that the ship has already sunk.
Shortly after the first reports of the sinking, South Korean news agency Yonhap said that another South Korean ship fired shots toward an unidentified target in the direction of North Korea. Local residents reported having heard gunfire for about 10 minutes from 11 p.m., Yonhap said.
The Joint Chiefs official said he could not confirm the shooting but said the military was strengthening its vigilance in the area.
South Korean broadcaster SBS said many sailors were feared dead.
The North Koreans have repeatedly violated South Korea’s boundaries, and have exchanged gunfire numerous times, with two fatal incidents in the past ten years.
This is why countries should win wars, not declare cease-fires.