Map of the Yeonpyeong islands and their main population centers
|• Total||7.29 km2 (2.81 sq mi)|
Yeonpyeong Island or Yeonpyeongdo (Korean: 연평도 pronounced [jʌnpçʌŋdo]; referred to by North Korea as Yŏnphyŏng Islet) is a group of South Korean islands in the Yellow Sea, located about 80 km (50 mi) west of Incheon and 12 km (7.5 mi) south of the coast of Hwanghae Province, North Korea. The main island of the group is Daeyeonpyeongdo ("Big Yeonpyeong Island"), also referred to simply as Yeonpyeong Island, with an area of 7.01 km2 (2.71 sq mi) and a population of around 1,300.
The principal population centre is Yeonpyeong-ri, where the island's ferry port is located. The other inhabited island is Soyeonpyeongdo ("Small Yeonpyeong Island") with a small population and an area of 0.24 km2 (0.093 sq mi). Several other small islands comprise the rest of the group.
Yeonpyeong Island is known for its crab fishery.
Maritime border disputes
Yeonpyeong lies near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) and is only 12 km (7.5 mi) from the North Korean coastline. The 1953 Armistice Agreement which ended the Korean War specified that five island groups, including Yeonpyeong, would remain under South Korean control. North Korea subsequently respected the UN-acknowledged western maritime border for many years until around the mid-1990s.
However, since the 1990s, North Korea has disputed the NLL. The North Korean government claims a border farther south that encompasses valuable fishing grounds (though it skirts around South Korean-held islands such as Yeonpyeong). The claim, nonetheless, is not accepted internationally, because:
- DPRK's claim is neither based on International law nor Law of the Sea.
- The United Nations Command insisted that the NLL must be maintained until a new maritime MDL could be established through the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission on the armistice agreement, and DPRK's claim was not established through the UNCMAC.
On November 23, 2010, North Korean artillery shelled Yeonpyeong with dozens of rounds at Yeonpyeong-ri and the surrounding area. This shelling followed a Southern military exercise in the area. The South returned fire with 155 mm (6 in) K-9 self-propelled howitzers. The shelling damaged dozens of houses as well as Southern military infrastructure and set buildings on fire. Two South Korean Marines and two civilians were killed in the shelling, with eighteen others wounded.
Accounts of the billowing smoke were reported in Korean and international newspapers. Thick columns of black smoke rising from the island were the primary proof that the attack had occurred. South Koreans watching television saw the smoke rising from the island after it was hit.
During the bombardment, most of the residents were hiding in a dugout and then escaped to Incheon on a ferry and a fishing boat. Before the bombardment, the number of the residents usually reached about 1400; after the attack, at one time it was down to about 100. It was anticipated[by whom?] that, since the remaining residents were planning to leave as well, the number would keep decreasing. It was also said that there was a relatively high possibility that the island's population would become very scarce. However, in March 2011, 5 months after the bombardment, more than 80% of the residents went back to the island.
In addition, after the attack, there were weapons newly installed to strengthen the security. Because civilians were banned for a time to even enter the island, people[who?] presumed that it would end up becoming a military base. To their surprise, however, it turned out that the number of the residents increased and the residents are now known to be diligently and enthusiastically working in their own fields (such as crab fishery) despite the tragic incident. Shelters and dugouts were newly constructed in order for them to be all able to evacuate in the case of emergencies.
- "Inter-Korean MDL" is cited because it comes from an academic source and the writers were particular enough to include in quotes as presented. The broader point is that the maritime demarcation line here is not a formal extension of the Military Demarcation Line; compare: NLL—Controversial Sea Border Between S.Korea, DPRK.
- Moore, Malcolm; Hutchison, Peter (2010-11-23). "Yeonpyeong Island: A history". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- Ryoo, Col. Moo Bong (2009-03-11). "The Korean Armistice and the Islands" (PDF) (Strategy research project at the U.S. Army War College): 13 (PDF: 21). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-03-15. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- "Factbox: What is the Korean Northern Limit Line?". Reuters. 2010-11-23. Archived from the original on 2018-06-03. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- Van Dyke, Jon; Valencia, Mark; Garmendia, Jenny (2003). "The North/South Korea Boundary Dispute in the Yellow (West) Sea" (PDF). Marine Policy (27): 143–158. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-09.
- Armistice Agreement, paragraph 13(b). "Text of the Korean War Armistice Agreement". FindLaw. 1953-07-27. Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
- "North Korea's reckless attacks cannot be tolerated". Mainichi Shimbun. 2010-11-24. Archived from the original on 2010-11-26.
- Hyung-Jin and Kwang-Tae Kim (2010-11-23). "North, South Korea exchange fire; 2 marines killed". Washington Times. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
- "합참 "우리 군 대응사격으로 북한 측 피해도 상당할 것"". Chosun Ilbo. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- Kim, Kwang-Tae (2010-11-22). "SKorea: NKorea Fires Artillery Onto Island". Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-11-22.[dead link]
- "(URGENT) Four S. Korean soldiers wounded by N. Korean artillery fire: military officials". Yonhap News Agency. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- Branigan, Tania (2010-11-23). "Artillery fire on Korean border". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- "Artillery fire on Korean border". BBC Online. BBC. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- Si-soo, Park (2010-11-23). "Yeonpyeong turns into inferno". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
- "South Koreans watch news on television showing smoke rising from Yeonpyeong Island after it was hit by dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea, at Seoul railway station". Salem Radio Network. 2010-11-23. Archived from the original on 2012-07-16.[dead link]
- Leem, Truth (2010-11-23). "South Koreans watch news on television showing smoke rising from Yeonpyeong Island after it was hit by dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea, at Seoul railway station". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
Media related to Yeonpyeong Island at Wikimedia Commons