First Battle of Yeonpyeong

The First Battle of Yeonpyeong was a skirmish between naval units of North and South Korea.

It did little to settle the dispute about control of the area and was an embarrassment to the North Korean regime. Minor incidents and incursions concerning fishing in the area continued, including another naval skirmish in 2002 dubbed the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong.

The tense, ten-day standoff in the Yellow Sea between North and South Korea--which resulted in the sinking of a North Korean torpedo boat and a number of North Korean casualties three days ago--commanded the attention of media commentators in Seoul and a handful of others in Asia and in Europe who sought to come to grips with Pyongyang's "mysterious provocations." The incursions by North Korean fishing boats into the crab-rich waters of a disputed fishing zone between the North and the South, coming just two weeks after former Defense Secretary Perry's visit to Pyongyang, prompted editors in South Korea to debate the value of their government's Sunshine Policy toward North Korea, and moved others to examine whether the North's actions were a "call for help" or a ploy designed to limit efforts--by the U.S. and others--to "open" North Korea to the outside world. Some analysts wondered if the confrontation would lead to a suspension of the two-party talks between North and South Korea scheduled to take place in Beijing on Monday. A number of writers expressed the hope that China and the U.S. could overcome the current irritants in Sino-U.S. relations and work together to help ease the tensions between Seoul and its "unpredictable" neighbor to the north.