South Korean marines patrol on Yeonpyeong island in the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea on Dec, 6, 2010. (Kim Jae-Myung/AFP/Getty Images)
China stepped up rhetoric in response to U.S. criticism that it has not done enough to respond to North Korea in the wake of its artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong Island, blaming the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises for ratcheting up tensions. A senior Chinese diplomat traveled to Pyongyang, reinforcing the longstanding alliance between the two countries. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said China is “unwilling” to pressure North Korea over the incident.
The United States, South Korea and Japan have reemphasized their security alliance in the weeks since the attack, as North Korea continues to claim that the provocation has originated from the other side of the 38th parallel, saying South Korea has “persistently mocked at the [North’s] sincere efforts to improve the inter-Korean relations.” Both sides have vowed a strong response to any military action.
A team of U.S. diplomats is expected to travel to Beijing next week in an attempt to diffuse tensions.
Violence in Haiti After Disputed Election Announcement
Election officials on Wednesday announced a runoff in the presidential election, sparking a new round of protests in Port-au-Prince and halting flights in and out of the capital.
Supporters of candidate Michel Martelly, angry that the singer would be considered in third place in the runoff, torched the election headquarters of Haiti’s ruling party.
According to the election commission’s results, Jude Celestin, backed by President Rene Preval, would face former first lady Mirlande Manigat in the next vote. But there have been accusations of ballot-rigging, and after the first round of voting in November a majority of the candidates called for the results to be tossed out.
The political chaos adds to Haiti’s existing instability in the wake of January’s devastating earthquake, which left many people living in tent cities, and the outbreak of cholera in recent months that has killed more than 2,000 people.
Cyberwar Between WikiLeaks Supporters, Foes Spreads
An amorphous group of computer hackers launched an attack on MasterCard, a Swiss bank, Sen. Joe Lieberman’s website, and other sources of opposition to WikiLeaks in recent days, escalating an online battle that kicked off after the controversial group released classified State Department cables.
The site’s founder, Julian Assange, was arrested earlier this week in London on charges relating to an investigation in Sweden of allegations that he assaulted two women during an August visit. He has claimed to have a so-called “poison pill” of damaging information that could be unleashed in the event of his arrest or death.
The WikiLeaks release has had reverberations throughout the world as revelations of the U.S.’s foreign policy, and candid thoughts, on foreign leaders and government have flooded the public domain.
Maryland Man Held in Connection with Bomb Plot
Antonio Martinez, a 21-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested for trying to blow up a military recruiting center with a fake bomb planted by the FBI. Martinez, who recently converted to Islam and started going by the name Muhammad Hussain, reportedly hesitated after a similar sting in Portland, Ore., but decided to continue with his plan.