North Korea has conducted a new round of artillery drills near the disputed sea boundary with South Korea, officials in Seoul said, a day after earlier exercises prompted the South to respond with its own drills in the same area.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the North fired more than 60 rounds near the western sea boundary on Saturday afternoon. It said Seoul strongly urges North Korea to halt acts that heighten tensions.
The Joint Chiefs said South Korea will take corresponding military steps if North Korea continues artillery drills that pose a threat to South Korean nationals.
It added that South Korea will “overwhelmingly” deal with any provocations by Pyongyang.
On Friday, North Korea fired about 200 artillery shells near the area, prompting South Korea to conduct its own firing drills in response.
South Korea’s Defence Ministry said troops on two border islands fired artillery rounds south of the sea boundary. Local media said South Korea fired 400 rounds.
South Korean authorities had earlier asked residents on five major islands near the western sea boundary to head to safe places due to worries that North Korea would fire back. The evacuation order was lifted a few hours later.
Both Koreas have abandoned a 2018 deal they struck during a brief period of rapprochement. The agreement called for a halt in live-fire exercises in frontline buffer zones, but rising animosities over the North’s missile tests, its first military spy satellite launch and other issues have left the military agreement in tatters.
The Koreas’ poorly marked western sea boundary was the site of bloody naval skirmishes between the Koreas in 1999, 2002 and 2009.
Pyongyang’s alleged torpedoing of a South Korean warship killed 46 sailors in March 2010, and the North’s artillery bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island killed four South Koreans in November 2010.
In a recent ruling party meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fired off fierce, derisive rhetoric against South Korea, saying Seoul must not be considered as a partner for reconciliation or unification.
He ordered the military to use all available means — including nuclear weapons — to conquer South Korea in the event of a conflict.
Since 2022, North Korea has conducted more than 100 missile tests, many of them nuclear-capable weapons targeting the US mainland and South Korea.
Washington and Seoul have responded by expanding their military training, which North Korea calls an invasion rehearsal.
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country