North Korea accused South Korea of using civilians as human shields around military bases on an island that the North hit with an artillery attack this past week. The accusation is an apparent effort to quell South Korean outrage over the barrage, which killed two civilian construction workers.
The KCNA report said South Korea should be held responsible for the civilian deaths because it had used civilians as human shields around its artillery batteries. The South “is now working hard to dramatize the ‘civilian casualties’ as part of its propaganda campaign”, the report said.
South Korean public anger has also lashed out at President Lee Myung-bak for what many here see as the military’s failure to make more than a token response to Tuesday’s attack. There were at least two protests in Seoul that criticized both North Korean leader Kim Jong-il for the attack and President Lee for his weak response.
While South Koreans seemed to respond to past provocations with an air of resignation, this time there have been loud calls here for stronger military retaliation or a permanent end to all aid to the North. Much of that aid was cut off following the sinking of the Cheonan, but last month North Korea asked the South for food and other assistance following deadly floods.