North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

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North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Glmclain » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:22 am UTC

Oh shi-

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea on Tuesday fired artillery into the sea near its tense western sea border with South Korea, injuring at least 14 South Korean miltary personnel and two civilians, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Four of the military personnel were seriously injured, Yonhap said.
At least 200 rounds of artillery hit an inhabited South Korean island after the North started firing about 2:30 p.m. local time, Yonhap said.
South Korea's military responded with 80 rounds of artillery and deployed fighter jets to counter the fire, the report said.
The South Korean army also raised its alert condition, the report said.
Images of plumes of smoke were quickly broadcast on Yonhap television from the island of Yeonpyeong, but it was not immediately clear what the artillery had hit.
The island that was hit has a total of about 1,300 residents, a fisherman who lives on the island told Yonhap.
The South Korean government immediately called an emergency meeting of its security ministers.
The North Korean fire came as the South's military conducted routine drills in waters off the island.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby ++$_ » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:39 am UTC

North Korea is doing its best to prove that it is still the craziest nation out there, I see.

Quite honestly I think there is a virtual guarantee of a second Korean War at some point.

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:50 am UTC

What in the shitting hell are they playing at?
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Glmclain » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:52 am UTC

This is bad. I'm big into North Korean-South Korean politics, so I'm freaking the fuck out.

The North has been dicky before, but firing upon unarmed civilians? The people are going to want retribution, and I'm not sure where this is going to lead. The death count says 1 person has been killed so far, but I doubt it'll stay that low for long...

Shit just got real.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:55 am UTC

I'm starting to think that N Korea doesn't quite understand how this whole "brinkmanship" thing tends to work. It's a dangerous game to start with, but when you change the rules to "Whoo! Let's do some crazy shit!" there's not likely to be a winner at all.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Glmclain » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:59 am UTC

The problem here is that there's no justification, no matter how wrong or skewed it might be, for attacking this island.

Normally the North attacks a sub for "getting to close" or some shit like that, but an island can't move. It's just chilling there.

Also, they've most likely killed civilians. There is no military justification here. This is an act of war.

EDIT: 3:01 AM EST - The South has confirmed it's returning fire as we speak. This shit is going the fuck down.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Steax » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:18 am UTC

Perhaps they mistook the South Korean drills for an attack? Whatever the cause, this is scary. Shooting at vehicles is still "acceptable" (to an extent), especially when it's military. But an island... There's no easy way out.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:27 am UTC

Dear China,

your crazy, autistic brother is at it again. Would you be so kind as to get him under control.

Sincerely,

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Ortus » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:34 am UTC

The fuck? One would hope North Korea comes out with a, "oh shit we didn't mean to it was an accident we already beheaded the officer who gave the order kay?" sometime soon.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Aetius » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:36 am UTC

PhoenixEnigma wrote:I'm starting to think that N Korea doesn't quite understand how this whole "brinkmanship" thing tends to work. It's a dangerous game to start with, but when you change the rules to "Whoo! Let's do some crazy shit!" there's not likely to be a winner at all.


If brinkmanship is a game of chicken, NK is apparently playing by swerving all over the road and then trying to T-bone SK at an intersection.

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Rikeus » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:37 am UTC

I just hope one of them does a proper job of winning the damn thing this time.

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Ortus » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:39 am UTC

It appears the SK President is urging against further escalation, so one can hope this doesn't turn in to an all out war any time soon...
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:41 am UTC

Ortus wrote:It appears the SK President is urging against further escalation, so one can hope this doesn't turn in to an all out war any time soon...

Oh come on... Let's have a proper go at this shit. Seriously, like China is going to back North Korea's fuckery. We could pretty much have this entire thing wrapped up by breakfast in the States if we wanted to. Is it really that hard to beat an army that's still World War II surplus? Insurgents in Afghanistan have harder shit.

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Ortus » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:47 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Ortus wrote:It appears the SK President is urging against further escalation, so one can hope this doesn't turn in to an all out war any time soon...

Oh come on... Let's have a proper go at this shit. Seriously, like China is going to back North Korea's fuckery. We could pretty much have this entire thing wrapped up by breakfast in the States if we wanted to. Is it really that hard to beat an army that's still World War II surplus? Insurgents in Afghanistan have harder shit.




Pretty sure China would fuck us over on principle (which is only mildly hilarious).
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:50 am UTC

Ortus wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:
Ortus wrote:It appears the SK President is urging against further escalation, so one can hope this doesn't turn in to an all out war any time soon...

Oh come on... Let's have a proper go at this shit. Seriously, like China is going to back North Korea's fuckery. We could pretty much have this entire thing wrapped up by breakfast in the States if we wanted to. Is it really that hard to beat an army that's still World War II surplus? Insurgents in Afghanistan have harder shit.




Pretty sure China would fuck us over on principle (which is only mildly hilarious).

I believe we owe them too much money for that sort of shit. I mean, who else are we supposed to get a loan from for our massive military expenditure in the Grand Democratic Liberation of the Oppressed Peoples of North Korea from their Terrorist Leader who was Responsible for 9/11: The Obama is an Evil Muslim Fascist Atheist Commie Edition--Palin 2012?

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Ortus » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Ortus wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:
Ortus wrote:It appears the SK President is urging against further escalation, so one can hope this doesn't turn in to an all out war any time soon...

Oh come on... Let's have a proper go at this shit. Seriously, like China is going to back North Korea's fuckery. We could pretty much have this entire thing wrapped up by breakfast in the States if we wanted to. Is it really that hard to beat an army that's still World War II surplus? Insurgents in Afghanistan have harder shit.




Pretty sure China would fuck us over on principle (which is only mildly hilarious).

I believe we owe them too much money for that sort of shit. I mean, who else are we supposed to get a loan from for our massive military expenditure in the Grand Democratic Liberation of the Oppressed Peoples of North Korea from their Terrorist Leader who was Responsible for 9/11: The Obama is an Evil Muslim Fascist Atheist Commie Edition--Palin 2012?



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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Hawknc » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:55 am UTC

China has a pretty good thing going with the status quo, I don't see why they'd want to get involved in any major way unless they felt their sovereignty was threatened. Right now it looks like the only party interested in starting shit is the DPRK, and I can't figure out why.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby yedidyak » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:56 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Ortus wrote:It appears the SK President is urging against further escalation, so one can hope this doesn't turn in to an all out war any time soon...

Oh come on... Let's have a proper go at this shit. Seriously, like China is going to back North Korea's fuckery. We could pretty much have this entire thing wrapped up by breakfast in the States if we wanted to. Is it really that hard to beat an army that's still World War II surplus? Insurgents in Afghanistan have harder shit.


Problem is that theres 1000s of artillery cannon hidden in bunkers pointed at Seoul. Anything SK does, and at least a million SK civilians could die in minutes, plus Seoul being flattened.

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Ortus » Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:57 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:China has a pretty good thing going with the status quo, I don't see why they'd want to get involved in any major way unless they felt their sovereignty was threatened. Right now it looks like the only party interested in starting shit is the DPRK, and I can't figure out why.



It's not exactly unprecedented, though.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby PeterCai » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:23 am UTC

Ortus wrote:
Hawknc wrote:China has a pretty good thing going with the status quo, I don't see why they'd want to get involved in any major way unless they felt their sovereignty was threatened. Right now it looks like the only party interested in starting shit is the DPRK, and I can't figure out why.



It's not exactly unprecedented, though.


that was back when the status quo is not in favor of China...

I really don't see how this can escalate though, both China and US have interests in keeping the staus quo, and neither countries can go to war without their support.

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Haevitetty » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:41 am UTC

The horror of human existence - Our lives could be effortlessly changed or ended by events far outside of our control, willed by people far outside of our influence, on a completely different side of the world. :(
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:46 am UTC

The problem with assuming that, for instance, North Korea won't go to war without China's support is that it's hard to consider North Korea a rational actor. At some level they probably are, but there's enough unknown internal variables that it's not a safe assumption, or at least not one I'd be particularly comfortable with given the stakes.

That said, I don't particularly imagine this is how North Korea would chose to start such a war. Presumably, if shit really did get real, they'd have 24-48 hours before most of the important bits of NK were smoldering rubble. In a situation like that, if you have any intention of actually starting a war, a couple dozen shells at an island is a pretty poor way to do it.

For those interested, BBC News is running a sort of live micro blog type thing here.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby jestingrabbit » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:57 am UTC

This incident is pretty clearly linked to the recent revelations of a centifuge facility in North Korea, enriching uranium. With the changeover of power, we can expect more of the same happening until the final handover from one generation to the next is completed.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby johnny_7713 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:43 am UTC

Glmclain wrote:The problem here is that there's no justification, no matter how wrong or skewed it might be, for attacking this island.

Normally the North attacks a sub for "getting to close" or some shit like that, but an island can't move. It's just chilling there.

Also, they've most likely killed civilians. There is no military justification here. This is an act of war.

EDIT: 3:01 AM EST - The South has confirmed it's returning fire as we speak. This shit is going the fuck down.


I believe the reason cited by the North is that the South refused to stop military drills they were performing on the island. Also the North claims the South shot first. Also the most of the inhabitants of the island apparently live on a military base there. Not that this makes this any less of an act of war.

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:26 pm UTC

See, in my mind's eye, I can only see a guy with a huge trollface mask saying those things.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby GoC » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:08 pm UTC

You know... I kinda just want the war to start and be over and done with and the remnants of NKs population freed. Am I a bad person? :(
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Oregonaut » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:27 pm UTC

GoC wrote:You know... I kinda just want the war to start and be over and done with and the remnants of NKs population freed. Am I a bad person? :(


Only if you're willing to accept the cost of several million lives. Seoul would not come away unscathed. NK has a fairly strong policy of "NO U!", and is perfectly willing to fire on civilians. They literally have nothing to lose.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:37 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:
GoC wrote:You know... I kinda just want the war to start and be over and done with and the remnants of NKs population freed. Am I a bad person? :(


Only if you're willing to accept the cost of several million lives. Seoul would not come away unscathed. NK has a fairly strong policy of "NO U!", and is perfectly willing to fire on civilians. They literally have nothing to lose.


Strategic first strike against NK artilery concentrations with nuclear weapons? It would garner quite a lot of criticism, but it's notthing that hasn't been considered before (a strike by B52's and F111-F's with nuclear gravity bombs was the backup plan in case Operation Paul Bunyan touched off a full scale invasion).
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:41 pm UTC

I have to agree with oregonaut. North Korea isn't some toothless tin-pot little dictatorship, it actually has a very scarily large military for a country of its size. And even if they're equipped with out-dated equipment, that out-dated equipment can still cause a great deal of hurt. We would win, but South Korea would suffer in the meantime. Seoul is one great big, shiny, highly populated sitting duck well within range of NK artillery.

And even if we're willing to accept the loss of the second largest city in the world, we'll have royally pissed off China and maybe a few other countries. That's not a healthy position to be in.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Oregonaut » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:42 pm UTC

You light off nukes anywhere near China and you kiss the West Coast goodbye. Beijing would probably understand if we took out NK, they would not understand if we nuked it.

The instant that we move anything remotely resembling a sufficient force to overwhelm their artillery, KJI is going to order "the final solution" in play. Not to mention China would beef up their military presence, which would put us one "oops" away from full war.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Arancaytar » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:45 pm UTC

NK could be defeated in 24-48 hours, maybe, but they could destroy Seoul within hours. They've completely prepared for that. Their artillery probably practice that drill every day. So yeah. Fucking scary.

johnny_7713 wrote:Also the North claims the South shot first.


Only on the DVD. :P
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby weasel@xkcd » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:11 pm UTC

No way will there be an actual war.

It's pretty easy for us to talk about military action from the safety of our armchairs but for South Koreans the cost would be much too high. NK is incredibly militarised for a nation with its economy and population, and while their equipment isn't that up-to-date it is buried deep inside mountains and pointed at Seoul. Basically nothing but nukes will damage most of the weapons except when they're in the process of firing and even if you did use nukes we don't know where all the sites are so a lot of Seoul could disappear anyway. Then you have to capture NK, a country in which anti-Western propaganda could create an insurgency that makes Afghanistan look like a teaparty. Finally when you do occupy it, then what? NK is one of the poorest countries in the world and would not modernise quickly. It would be extremely hard to integrate with SK and be a huge drain on resources so it's not like SK would be pleased with us (especially if their new territory is an irradiated wasteland).
Basically SK decided long ago that the few deaths every so often is worth not having to deal with war and the aftermath.

As for why they did this, the BBC has a pretty good summary http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11818729

One of the most likely reasons is that NK feels a military parade celebrating glorious victory over the Western Imperialists (which is how these events are always presented) will strengthen the position of Kim Jong Ill's successor as power is transferred. Another is that they think this will focus international attention on them and strengthen their negotiating position regarding their nuclear program (because we're totally going to let tham have nukes after this :roll: ) . Finally, they may be trying to punish SK for reducing trade and economic aid.

They say it's because they were threatened by South Kroean military exercises which supposedly violated North Korean territorial waters.

tl;dr
War won't happen, too expensive. NK knows SK won't retaliate and just wants a Glorious Victory to strengthen the position of Kim Kim Jong-un.

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Stacy S. » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:50 pm UTC

weasel@xkcd wrote:tl;dr
War won't happen, too expensive. NK knows SK won't retaliate and just wants a Glorious Victory to strengthen the position of Kim Kim Jong-un.


Good post, good summary. The only problem I see with your analysis is that NK is on such a hair trigger (or so it is believed). Little things like this could quickly escalate out of control in less than a single minute to the point were neither side could turn back before 10,000 dead people showed up.

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:58 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:You light off nukes anywhere near China and you kiss the West Coast goodbye. Beijing would probably understand if we took out NK, they would not understand if we nuked it.


True, It's kind of a shame that the US disposed of all it's chemical weapons, as based on the concentration of NK artillery and manpower, plus the area denial function of some of the V-series agents*, they would be a somewhat less visible, slightly less likely to start world war III option which would still protect SK...

There's no way that a conventional war with north korea could be fought without severe materiel damage to seoul, and the evactuation/subesquent displacement of millions of people.

*also I wrote a paper on the effects of and subsequent treatment for V-series nerve agent exposure, and it would be academically interesting (if something of a human tragedy) to see if the efficiacy of the treatment holds up on the battlefield.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Zamfir » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:04 pm UTC

What is it about North-Koreans that make people so quick to consider gassing and nuking them?

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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Oregonaut » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:06 pm UTC

It's the fact that they're North. Nobody likes North. North can go eat a bag of douche.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Hawknc » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:13 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:What is it about North-Koreans that make people so quick to consider gassing and nuking them?

Compared to somewhere like Sudan or Afghanistan, not nearly as many journalists and photographers chronicling the plight of the North Koreans. (Kids, you noticing all this plight?)
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:18 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:What is it about North-Koreans that make people so quick to consider gassing and nuking them?


Because there are so many of them, it's a tactically valid thing to do... In the face of a conventional forces invasion of western europe, the British army of the rhine's postition included the possiblity of employing tactical/battlefield nuclear weapons as force multipliers or even to mount a fighting retreat whilst planting nuclear mines.

I'd happily suggest the limited use of unconventional weapons for any practicable situation where it would be a valid military nessecity... Given how well geared NATO was/is for defeating numerically superior conventional opponents, there really is no point in loosing any more of "our people" than absolutely nesseccary.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby SWGlassPit » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:25 pm UTC

North Korea is not a rational actor. This will not end well.
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Re: North Korea Fires Upon Inhabited South Korean Island

Postby Zamfir » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:26 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
Zamfir wrote:What is it about North-Koreans that make people so quick to consider gassing and nuking them?


Because there are so many of them, it's a tactically valid thing to do... In the face of a conventional forces invasion of western europe, the British army of the rhine's postition included the possiblity of employing tactical/battlefield nuclear weapons as force multipliers or even to mount a fighting retreat whilst planting nuclear mines.

I'd happily suggest the limited use of unconventional weapons for any practicable situation where it would be a valid military nessecity... Given how well geared NATO was/is for defeating numerically superior conventional opponents, there really is no point in loosing any more of "our people" than absolutely nesseccary.

I suspect the main reason people considered tactical nukes so easily was that in the early days of the cold war, both sides were still pissed about the Germans anyway. In later days, the Germans on both sides still were not influencing much of either NATO or Russian strategy.

Just as in the Korean example, such measures become a lot more attractive if they are to be applied Elsewhere.


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