Two days after reports that North Korea showed an enormous, sophisticated new plant used to enrich uranium to an American scientist, the isolated country fired around 100 rounds of artillery (some reports say 200) at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in the Yellow Sea, killing two South Korean marines, according to South Korean media. South Korea fired back and its military is in "crisis mode."
Sixteen soldiers and civilians were also injured, and 60 buildings were set ablaze. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement, "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. We are in close and continuing contact with our Korean allies."
China, who is North Korea's main ally, said it was "concerned." The Washington Post reports, "Various Chinese analysts today interpreted the North's actions - coming so soon after the revelation of the new uranium enrichment facility - as a possible call for attention by the North, and an attempt to increase its bargaining position." One explained, "It is my understanding that North Korea is creating some incidents to make the international world have contact with it. And then it can bargain with international world to get benefits. The six-party talks have been halted for a long time."