After Strike, SK Leader Calls For 'Enormous Retaliation' Against NK

Hours after North Korea's deadly artillery attacks Tuesday, South Korea's president said ""enormous retaliation"" is needed to stop Pyongyang's incitement, but international diplomats urgently appealed for restraint.

""The provocation this time can be regarded as an invasion of South Korean territory,"" President Lee Myung-bak said at the headquarters of the Joint Chiefs of Staff here, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

The incident -- in which two South Korean marines died -- is ""the first direct artillery attack on South Korean territory since the Korean War ended in an armistice, not a formal peace treaty"" in the 1950s, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

Scott Snyder, director of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy, the Asia Foundation, called the act a ""very serious provocation"" and said it was ""unprecedented in recent years [at least since the 1970s if not longer] in terms of artillery beyond the DMZ into civilian areas.""

The United States has about 28,500 troops deployed in South Korea who are warily watching the situation. A U.S. defense official said there are ""more than 50 U.S. Navy vessels in the area, including a carrier strike group led by the USS George Washington. However, there are no plans to send more ships or forces in response to the strike."