North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire today in one of the most dramatic confrontations between the two since the Korean War ended without a peace treaty. Reporter Jason Strother has reaction from South Korea.
Images of plumes of black smoke and panicked residents have been broadcast over South Korean television.
Yeonpyeong residents, like Lee Choon-ok, 54, say she didn't know what hit at first. Lee was lying down and watching tv when she said she heard a bang, bang, bang. At first, Lee says she thought it was the South Korean military drills that were taking place near by. It was only when her house was hit by artillery that she realized it was a North Korean attack. She says she thought she would die if she stepped outside.
Another Yeonpyeong resident Shin Sung-hee, 51, says the scene was chaotic. He says shells hit in many places and there were fires everywhere. He says residents were told to evacuate their homes and head to a bomb shelter. Shin drove home to get his wife and when he got there, she was already standing outside because their house was destroyed.
North Korea blamed the South for starting Tuesday's firefight. Pyongyang says the South Korean military drills were being conducted in their territory. In an official statement aired on North Korean state television, North Korea threatened on more attacks if the south continues to violate by even one millimeter their waters.
But while residents on Yeonpyeong fear more attacks from the North, many South Koreans in Seoul seem less concerned. Some young Koreans say despite what happened today, they still don't see North Korea as a real threat. One man says ï¿½we are family, we are blood.ï¿½
But South Korean president Lee Myung Bak doesn't seem to be buying the family line. He says that he will retaliate if the North launches any more provocations.