North Korea and South Korea Exchange Artillery Fire on the Maritime Border

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North Korea and South Korea Exchange Artillery Fire on the Maritime Border

Like a vicious circle, the military exercises between the two Koreas create endless tension on the Korean Peninsula. Neighboring countries are also worried.

North Korea and South Korea Exchange Artillery Fire on the Maritime Border

Like a vicious circle, the military exercises between the two Koreas create endless tension on the Korean Peninsula. Neighboring countries are also worried.

The atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula has heated up again after reciprocal training with missiles with real bullets between North Korea and South Korea. Korea's second neighbor, China, asked all parties to exercise restraint to avoid an escalation of the conflict.

This statement was conveyed by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin in Beijing, China, Friday (5/1/2024). "China, as a close neighbor of South Korea and North Korea, continues to monitor developments in the situation on the Korean Peninsula. We ask that each party refrain from taking actions that could allow tensions to escalate. "Please prioritize a peaceful approach based on dialogue," he said.

Reporting from The Korea Times newspaper, North Korea (North Korea) opened artillery fire at 09.00-11.00. A total of 200 bullets were fired from Tanjung Jangsan and Tanjung Deungsan which are located in southwest North Korea. The bullets fell in the sea, just south of the maritime boundary between North and South Korea.

"This North Korean action is purely a provocation aimed at destabilizing the Korean Peninsula," said South Korean Armed Forces Spokesman Lee Sung-joon. He said South Korea would take appropriate action.

The North Korean artillery shells entered the waters of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island. This island is located 120 kilometers from the west coast of South Korea. From the mainland to Yeonpyeong Island it takes 2.5 hours by ferry. The population of this island is 2,000 people, including civilians and South Korean soldiers.


The South Korean news agency, Yonhap, reported that at 15.00, the South Korean Navy held artillery shooting exercises with real shells on Yeonpyeong Island which is close to the North Korean border. Civilians were asked to temporarily take shelter in bomb bunkers provided by the government.

The North Korean military then stated that the shooting drills were a "natural countermeasure" to the South Korean war games earlier this week. "If the enemy carries out actions that could be considered provocation under the pretext of countermeasures, the Korean People's Armed Forces (KPA) will demonstrate harsh retaliation that has never been done before," said the statement from the KPA Chief of Staff.


Yeonpyeong Island and the surrounding waters are a disputed maritime border area between South Korea and North Korea. It was recorded that open conflict occurred between the navies of the two countries in these waters in 1999, 2002 and 2009. In 2010, a South Korean Navy ship sank due to a torpedo and 46 of its crew died. There is no evidence of the perpetrator, but suspicion falls on North Korea.

On September 19, 2018, the militaries of the two Koreas signed an agreement. In fact, since the 1950 Korean War, South Korea and North Korea have not had a peace agreement. Their relationship status is a truce. On land, the border between the two countries is at Panmunjom, which is known as the demilitarized zone.

Along the land border there are 11 control posts. In the 2018 agreement, it was stated that the two Koreas agreed to dismantle 10 of the 11 command posts and withdraw their troops and weapons. South Korea and North Korea agreed not to hold military exercises and air surveillance in support zones.

However, things changed in November 2023. At that time, North Korea successfully launched its first spy satellite. Angry South Korea reintroduces air surveillance in protest against Pyongyang. North Korea responded to Seoul's protests by saying it would deploy heavier weapons along the border and not recognize the 2018 agreement.

Media in South Korea reported that since November 2023, the North Korean army has begun rebuilding command posts on the border. In addition, along the train tracks in the demilitarized zone, North Korean soldiers planted them with mines. This made the rails too dangerous to use.

 

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