Ghosts in Korean conflict?

Twitter has its faults but it's an amazing way to follow major world events in real time. Take the situation in the Koreas. North Korea shelled South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island a few days ago, in a deadly artillery attack. The United States and South Korea took up position in the Yellow Sea today for joint military exercises. Journalists have been told they should leave the island. North Korea has threatened another "merciless" attack. As soon as the initial attack happened, news spread on Twitter long before it was broadcast on cable outlets. Still, it's great to have a full-length article that explains the context and larger issues surrounding the latest conflict. This Associated Press report, for instance, reminds readers that North Korea killed 46 South korean sailors earlier this year when it attacked a warship.

Here's how the article ends:

Hours earlier, the rattle of new artillery fire from North Korea sent residents, journalists, police and troops scrambling for cover on Yeonpyeong Island. None of the rounds landed on the island, military officials said, but the incident showed how tense the situation remains.

Saying they could not guarantee the journalists' safety, South Korea's Defense Ministry sent a ship to ferry them off the island but bad weather forced them to cancel the evacuation. About 380 people, including 28 islanders and 190 journalists, remained on Yeonpyeong on Sunday, officials said.

A similar burst of artillery fire Friday occurred just as the U.S. military's top commander in the region, Gen. Walter Sharp, was touring Yeonpyeong Island. No shells landed anywhere in South Korean territory.

Calls for tougher action made way Sunday for pleas for peace among about 150 South Koreans who turned out for a vigil Sunday evening in a Seoul plaza, huddling with candles in paper cups and chanting, "Give us peace!"

"It was very shocking," said Kang Hong-koo, 22, a student. "I'm here to appease the souls of the people who were killed in the North Korean attack. I hope the current tense situation is alleviated quickly."

As the reader who submitted this story notes "Wow, is there enormous ghost dropped into our laps at the end of this story." And he's right. What religious tradition is the student referring to? Was the vigil for that particular religion or was it interfaith? And it also suggests all sorts of other angles to explore. For instance, what are the religious differences between North and South Korea? And do they play any role in the conflict here?

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