Korean Embassy in Beijing Shot At

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BEIJING - Amidst escalating tension between Korea and China over the killing of a Coast Guard officer by an illegal Chinese fisherman, a projectile was shot at the Korean Embassy in Beijing, cracking a thick window.

According to the embassy, a small metal ball cracked the window of the embassy cafeteria. The embassy said the window wasn’t bullet-proof and no one was hurt.

“I found the ball at around 12:50 p.m. when I entered the lounge,” an official at the embassy told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday. “We assume that someone attacked the window between 12:30 and 12:50 p.m.”

Chinese police suspect the ball was fired by an air rifle. Chinese law prohibits possession of firearms for personal purposes, except for hunting air rifles. Chinese authorities said that they will investigate.

Alarmed by the apparent attack, the embassy had meetings with Chinese officials. It was the first apparent attack since the Korean Embassy opened in Beijing in 1992.

“In September 2010, a group of enraged Chinese residents threw stones at a school for Japanese students in Tianjin [northeastern China], when the Japanese government arrested a Chinese fisherman on charges of trespassing in its water,” an official at the embassy told the JoongAng Ilbo. “We are focusing on the possibility that the attack is linked to the arrest of the fisherman who stabbed the officer.”

Another diplomat at the embassy said: “As an embassy building represents the sovereignty of a nation, it could be seen as a serious provocation if a person indeed shot the ball with an air gun. It’s not just a simple matter of throwing eggs.”

Korean media pointed out that the apparent attack could be a response to angry rallies by hundreds of people outside the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, in which eggs were thrown and a police van was rammed.

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