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ROK won't punish troops for shooting at aircraft

[ 2011-06-20 10:40]     字号 [] [] []  
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The Republic of Korea's (ROK) military said on Sunday it will not punish soldiers who fired at a passenger jet flying from China, mistaking the aircraft for an enemy plane amid sea fog and high tensions with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

A Marine Corps spokesman said: "Early-morning sea fog disrupted their vision ... they did what they had been told to do based on military manuals.

"The action was partly caused by high tension with the DPRK ... we for now have no plan to punish them given there was no damage to the plane," he said.

Marines guarding the islands near the tense sea border with the DPRK will be given extra training to distinguish between enemy planes and passenger jets, he said.

Two marines at a guard post on the ROK's Gyodong Island near the disputed Yellow Sea border with the DPRK fired 99 K-2 rifle rounds at the plane, which had 119 people on board, on Friday.

The jet, owned by Seoul-based Asiana Airlines, was descending toward the ROK's Incheon International Airport when the soldiers opened fire. There was no damage to the plane. The Airbus 321 was following a normal route from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, the company said.

Ties between the ROK and the DPRK are at their lowest ebb in more than a decade after Pyongyang announced late last month it was breaking all contacts with the ROK's government.

Seoul accuses Pyongyang of torpedoing a warship and killing 46 sailors in March 2010 - a charge the DPRK denies. Pyongyang shelled a frontier island off the west coast last November, leaving four ROK people, including two civilians, dead.

Then, ROK Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, smarting from criticism of what was seen as the military's slow response to the attack, told frontline troops to strike back in the event of provocation without waiting for orders from top commanders.


1. What did the marines fire at the plane?

2. How many people were on board the Airbus 321?

3. Where was the jet flying from?


1. 99 K-2 rifle rounds.

2. 119.

3. Chengdu.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

ROK won't punish troops for shooting at aircraft

About the broadcaster:

ROK won't punish troops for shooting at aircraft

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.