South Korean dignitaries placed white chrysanthemums on a funeral altar today for two marines killed in a North Korean bombardment, as the country prepared military manoeuvres with the US that have enraged the North and concerned China.
South Korea's prime minister and marine commander Maj. Gen. You Nak-jun joined some 600 mourners attending the funeral for the two dead marines at a packed gymnasium at a military hospital in Seongnam, near Seoul.
As a brass band played somber music, they placed chrysanthemums — a traditional mourning flower — before framed photographs of the two men, posthumously promoted and awarded medals of valor. One marine's mother pressed her hand to her mouth, and fell forward in her seat in grief.
"Our marine corps ... will carry out a hundred- or thousand-fold" retaliation against North Korea for Tuesday's attack, You said, without elaborating.
Passersby paused at Seoul's main train station to watch funeral footage on a big screen.
"Once the enemy attacks us, it is our duty to respond even more strongly," said student Jeon Hyun-soo, 19. "The South Korean people want this."