North Korea/South Korea: Deadly Skirmish, Live On Twitter

North Korea has fired more than a hundred artillery rockets at a populated South Korean island near its western border. Two South Korean Marines were killed by the skirmish, at least a dozen more were injured and buildings were set on fire. South Korea returned fire and scrambled fighter jets.

Photos taken by Twitterer @givenjoy shows traces of South Korean fighter jets in the air as they flew over to the West Sea where the skirmish had taken place.

Just seconds after the news broke, South Koreans tweeted madly regarding possible future scenarios and evacuation plans, as well as re-tweeting news updates. Many scoured for accurate sources, as some unconfirmed rumors, such as North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had died, circulated online. Twitterers, quoting friends in the army, said the Korean peninsula was in a near-war situation. South Korea's presidential office, Cheongwadae (@BlueHouseKorea) has tried to calm public sentiment.

Jay H. LIM (@Narciman) 北 연평도 포격… 역외환율 1180원대로 급등 (아주경제) “로이터통신이 싱가폴발로 김정일 사망설을 전하는 등 외신의 루머성 보도”[역자주:로이터 통신의 사망설 보도는 찾을 수 없었음][…]

The currency exchange rate for the Korean Won has skyrocketed to 1180 won (for USD 1) “Reuters, from Singapore, reported a theory on Kim Jong- il's death which is believed to be a rumor”[note:unable to locate a Reuters’ article on the rumor about Kim's death][…]

Choi Bong Kyu (@drumboy83): RT @breezkite: 군대에 있는 후배한데서 전화가 왔답니다.. 준비끝났답니다… 강원도쪽에 있는데.. 진돗개1호에 .. 준비다 했답니다.. 각자 집에 전화 돌리고 있나봅니다.

I got a phone call from my junior [younger acquaintance] in the Korean army…He said they [the South Korean army] are ready. His squad is near Kangwon Province [South Korea's province near DPRK], they issued the first level Jindo alert and they are ready for the war. Soldiers are making phone calls to their homes.

대한민국 청와대 (@BluehouseKorea):RT @ROK_MND: 국방부는 이번 연평도 지역에 대한 북한의 도발에 대해 자위권 행사 차원에서 즉각적인 대응사격을 실시했고, 북한의 추가도발에 대비한 확고한 군사대비태세를 완비하고 있습니다.

The Ministry of Defense, to demonstrate the self-defensive power of South Korea, has immediately fired back at North Korea's provocation. The Korean army is on full alert preparing for the North's (possible) upcoming provocations.

As traffic shot unexpectedly high throughout Korean online spaces, some Twitterers asked people to follow a guideline in tweeting the news, believing proper social networking can be utilized to maintain public order.

Mojito (모히또) (@mojito0):RT @lifedefrager: 연평도 관련 소식은 항상 보도 출처를 밝혀주시고, RT는 가급적 공식 RT를, 그리고 지금/현재라는 말 대신 현재 시각을 적어주세요. SNS를 활용해서 혼란을 오히려 최소화할 수 있습니다. RT 부탁드립니다.

Please cite the source on any news on YeonPyeong Island. And retweet the news properly. And instead of mentioning the time as ‘now or currently’, please cite the exact hours and minutes. By utilizing SNS (Social Networking Service), we can minimize the chaos. Please retweet this message.

As worries and anticipation came to dominate South Koreans, some Twitter users have made a self-imposed pact to themselves to not abandon the country. Many have joined this impromptu social campaign and vowed themselves to never act cowardly and yo stop hoarding foods. Among them were celebrities, such as novelist Lee Oi-soo:

함께살자 (@che1781):저도 동참하지요^^RT @koreain: 라면 생필품 사재기 피난~ 나는 이딴거 안할란다! 죽어도 같이 죽고!! 살아도 같이 살고!!^^

I will join you. :) Hoarding raymen and essential goods, and fleeing away; these things I will never do. We die together and live together.

JooA (@bourjooa):저도 동참합니다! 비겁하게 혼자살지는 않겠습니다! RT @ostrich175: RT ..동참 !!RT @koreain: RT @tramlee[…]

I am with you! I will not try to survive alone like a coward! RT @ostrich 175: RT.. I will join you!! RT @koreain: RT @tramlee[…]

이외수 (@oisoo): 나는 비록 늙었으나 아직도 총을 들고 방아쇠를 당길 힘은 남아 있다. 위기상황이 오면 나라를 지키기 위해 기꺼이 전장으로 달려 가겠다.

I may be old, but I still have the strength to hold the rifle and pull the trigger. If any emergency occurrs, I will run to the arena to fight the country.

If an all-out war broke out in South Korea's metropolitan cities, there would be over 1 million victims. Some Twitterers like @koreain, warned people of becoming too emotional, while several others ran to join their families at such a dangerous time.

Choi Bong Kyu (@drumboy83):가족들이 일찍들어와! 라고 하기전에 알아서 들어가는게 효도RT @AgPD_Radio: (cont)

It is courtesy to your family to return home early before any one else orders you to do so.

The exchange of fire has stopped for now, but the fear of impending war is unlikely to subside soon.

Update: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak ordered his military to strike North Korea's missile base if it shows any signs of additional provocation.


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