North Korea Launches Artillery Barrage Towards South’s Border Island

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Afterwards, South Korea ordered civilians to seek shelter on the island before holding live fire drills of its own. The South has strongly criticized the action, describing it as highly provocative.

In 2010, there was an incident where North Korean artillery fired multiple times on Yeonpyeong island, resulting in the unfortunate loss of four lives.

The artillery shells fired on Friday, between 09:00 and 11:00 local time (00:00 and 02:00 GMT), landed in the buffer zone between the two countries and did not enter South Korean territory.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea stated that the incident did not result in any harm to their people or military. However, they expressed concern that this act could jeopardize peace on the Korean peninsula and escalate tensions.

The shelling follows warnings from Pyongyang that it was building up its military arsenal in preparation for war that could “break out at any time” on the peninsula.

Authorities on Baengnyeong Island have also issued an evacuation order.

Several months after North Korea completely halted a military agreement with South Korea, which had been intended to enhance relations, the most recent incident occurred.

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North Korea Withdraws from Border Agreement, Escalating Tensions with South Korea

The deal started to sour after Pyongyang claimed to have successfully launched a spy satellite into space in November. As a result, South Korea decided to partially suspend the agreement and announced the resumption of surveillance flights along the border.

Later, Pyongyang announced its intention to reverse the actions it had taken to avoid military conflict in various areas, such as on land, at sea, and in the air. Additionally, they stated their plans to strengthen their armed forces and introduce advanced military equipment in the border region.

However, North Korea had repeatedly violated the agreement in the two years prior by launching missiles and firing artillery rounds towards the South. In December 2022, there were a total of nine incidents where North Korea fired artillery shells into the sea.

According to some analysts, the official withdrawal of Pyongyang from the deal may not have a significant impact.

“Given North Korea’s lack of adherence to the agreement from the beginning, the potential for limited collisions has always been a concern,” commented Jo Bee Yun, an expert from the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis.

Located just 3km (2 miles) from the disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea and 12km from the North Korean coast, Yeonpyeong island is home to a military base and a small civilian population of about 2,000 people.

Over the years, there have been several naval clashes between North and South Korea in that area.

In 2010, there was a tragic incident where two soldiers and two civilians lost their lives when North Korea launched numerous artillery shells towards the island.

 

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