Fletcher in the News

North and South Korea Exchange Fire Across Disputed Sea Border: Prof. Lee Weighs In

Sung-Yoon Lee is the Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor in Korean Studies and Assistant Professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

North Korea and South Korea fired hundreds of artillery shells across their disputed western sea border on Monday, escalating military tensions a day after the North threatened to conduct more nuclear tests.

South Korean officials said the shells from both sides fell harmlessly into waters from which naval and fishing boats had stayed clear. But the exchange of fire marked the most serious episode along that border since an artillery duel there in 2010…

…Artillery exchanges in the disputed waters are not unprecedented, but rising military tensions there indicated that after months of relative calm, hostilities between the two Koreas have begun ratcheting up again. They raised fears that the often-repeated cycle of peace overtures followed by military provocations was resuming on the Korean Peninsula.

“Pyongyang prefers to strike when it sees Washington as weak or distracted, beset by bigger problems,” Lee Sung-yoon, a North Korea expert at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said, referring to the North’s capital.

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