The Daily Mail UK and other sources report - A massive rescue operation was underway this evening to save the crew of a South Korean navy ship feared to have been hit by a North Korean torpedo.
Several of the 104 crew were reported to have been killed and others are missing from the ship which sunk in waters near Baengnyeong island, close to the disputed maritime border between the two Koreas.
China Daily reports
A naval vessel from the Republic of Korea (ROK) with 104 crew members onboard sank into waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula late Friday due to an unknown cause, local media reported, citing naval officials.
The 1,200-ton ship sank off the ROK island of Baekryeongdo off the west coast around 21:45 p.m. Friday local time (12:45 GMT Friday), with an explosion in the back of the ship, and another ROK naval vessel fired at an unspecified target toward the north in response, ROK's Yonhap News Agency reported.
No casualties or injuries have been reported, and 58 out of the 104 crew members have been rescued thus far, Yonhap said.
Background on North Korean Desperation
From a reddit comment that included references
North Korea is really really f***ed so far this year. Their dry season, where food shortages happen, is between March and May, and this year farm output is horrible. [1 Korea Herald article] The North was depending on some food donations from the south, but they hit snags due to Chinese food export regulations. People are quite literally starving to death right now, just as they were in the 90s.
During this time of trouble, the regime attempted to do a currency revaluation, by chopping two zeros off each unit of currency. They also capped how much currency you could trade in, which seriously ass-raped anyone who had been responsibly saving money. The reason they did this was to stop "profiteers' and traders from making so much money.
However the revaluation had a terrible effect in that Chinese traders who had previously been accepting NK currency no longer want to come in and do business. These black-market traders that NK was trying to crack down on actually bring a large amount of food into the country. By essentially swiping all their money, these traders have stopped bringing food, which has only exacerbated the food shortage. The government official in charge of the currency revaluation has been executed. [2 UK Timesonline article ]
During this whole debacle, they're also trying to execute a transition of power to one of Dear Leader's sons, who has never run a country and has no cult-of-personality around him. Satisifaction with the regime is at an all time low, even among elites. [3 Korea Herald article]
It is heavily speculated that the regime will either topple or the transition will not go well as shown in OP's article. Also, an amazing article which summarizes most of it up is [4 UK Times Online article].
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