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North Korea Once Again Fires Artillery Shells Near South Korean Sea Border, States South Korea

On Saturday, North Korea conducted additional artillery drills near the contested sea boundary with South Korea, as confirmed by officials in Seoul. This followed the North’s previous exercises, prompting South Korea to respond with its own drills in the same vicinity the day before.

In a statement, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that North Korea fired over 60 rounds near the western sea boundary on Saturday afternoon. The statement emphasized South Korea’s strong call for North Korea to cease actions that escalate tensions.

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The Joint Chiefs of Staff affirmed that if North Korea persists in conducting artillery drills that endanger South Korean nationals, South Korea will implement corresponding military measures. The statement underscored South Korea’s commitment to “overwhelmingly” address any provocations by North Korea.

Last Friday, North Korea launched approximately 200 artillery shells in the vicinity, leading South Korea to carry out responsive firing drills. The Defense Ministry of South Korea stated that military forces on two border islands discharged artillery rounds south of the sea boundary. According to local media reports, South Korea discharged a total of 400 rounds during the response.

Prior to the commencement of South Korean drills, authorities in South Korea requested residents of five major islands near the western sea boundary to relocate to secure locations, expressing concerns that North Korea might retaliate with artillery fire. The evacuation order was rescinded a few hours later.

Both North and South Korea have renounced a 2018 agreement they reached during a short-lived period of reconciliation. The deal stipulated a cessation of live-fire exercises in the front-line buffer zone. However, escalating tensions stemming from North Korea’s missile tests, its inaugural military spy satellite launch, and various other issues have rendered the military agreement ineffective.

The inadequately demarcated western sea boundary between North and South Korea witnessed violent naval clashes in 1999, 2002, and 2009. In March 2010, the alleged torpedoing by North Korea of a South Korean warship resulted in the tragic death of 46 South Korean sailors. Furthermore, in November 2010, North Korea’s artillery bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island led to the loss of four South Korean lives.


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