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North Korea's Yeonpyeong Island attack to be renamed 'battle,' Seoul says

South Korea’s military said Wednesday that the bombardment of the Yeonpyeong Island is to be renamed, according to local press reports. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
South Korea’s military said Wednesday that the bombardment of the Yeonpyeong Island is to be renamed, according to local press reports. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

March 31 (UPI) -- A 2010 North Korean artillery attack on a South Korean island that killed four people is to be officially renamed the Yeonpyeong Island Artillery Battle after pressure from the families of the deceased.

South Korea's defense ministry said Wednesday that the incident the government previously referred to as the Yeonpyeong Island "artillery provocation" will be referred to as an armed conflict involving the militaries of both Koreas, the Donga Ilbo and Newsis reported.

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The change is being revealed as relations remain strained between Seoul and Pyongyang after the test firing of two short-range ballistic missiles.

North Korean politician Kim Yo Jong also has added to tensions after calling South Korea's Moon Jae-in an "American parrot" for voicing concerns about the tests.

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Moon, who met with Kim Jong Un four times from 2018 to 2019, has been less forthcoming about diplomacy with the North in recent weeks.

On West Sea Defense Day on Friday, Moon expressed gratitude to South Korean "heroes" who fired back artillery in response to the North Korean shelling, and "won in the face of an unjust attack" of Yeonpyeong.

Families of the deceased, as well as the South Korean Marine Corps, had requested the name change. South Korea's Marines have internally referred to the incident as a "battle," according to the Donga.

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Families of the perished victims said the term "provocation" was unsuitable because it implies they alone were victimized.

Moon Yeong-jo, the father of deceased Pvt. 2nd Class Moon Kwang-wook, had told a local news service that he had asked the president ahead of the 2017 election that the name change be made if he assumed office.

The bombardment of Yeonpyeong occurred on Nov. 23, 2010, after South Korea conducted exercises in disputed waters.

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North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells and rockets that hit the military and civilian areas on the island. South Korean K-9 self-propelled howitzers returned fire in a counterattack that included the firing of 80 shells.

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