Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for restraint after today’s artillery attack by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Yeongpyeong Island, located near its coastline in the Yellow Sea and belonging to the Republic of Korea (ROK).
According to media reports, ROK authorities said their troops returned fire after the DPRK fired dozens of artillery shells at its island – killing two marines and wounding several people – and has placed its military on its highest non-wartime alert following the incident. Pyongyang has reportedly accused the ROK of firing first, while Seoul said it had been conducting exercises but directed shelling away from its northern neighbour.
The Secretary-General condemned the attack, which he described as “one of the gravest incidents since the end of the Korean War,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
“The Secretary-General insists that any differences should be resolved by peaceful means and dialogue,” the statement said, adding that Mr. Ban has conveyed his “utmost” concern to the President of the UN Security Council.
In July, the Council condemned the sinking of an ROK naval vessel that took place in March, in which 46 people died, stressing the need to prevent further attacks both against the East Asian nation and in the region. The findings of an international investigative report released by Seoul concluded that the vessel was hit by a torpedo launched by DPRK.