Artillery shells fired by North and South Korea along sea border

In a recent escalation of tensions, North Korea fired over 200 artillery shells toward South Korea's Yeonpyeong island. The attack occurred between 09:00 to 11:00 local time and prompted South Korea to order civilians on the island to seek shelter. In response, South Korea conducted live-fire drills as a countermeasure. Yeonpyeong island has been a conflict flashpoint in the past, with a similar incident in 2010 resulting in casualties.

South Korea retaliated by ordering marines on two border islands to fire artillery shells south of the sea boundary later on Friday. The South Korean Defense Ministry reported that around 400 rounds were fired. While South Korea condemned the attack as a "provocative act," North Korea claimed that its artillery barrage posed no threat as it did not breach South Korean territory and all projectiles landed in the buffer zone between the two countries.

Authorities on nearby islands, Baengnyeong and Daecheong, also directed civilians to seek shelter in response to the escalating situation. Tension along the Korean Demilitarized Zone has been increasing, with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un stating that he will "no longer seek reconciliation and reunification" with South Korea. He also called on the armed forces to prepare for a "great event" to suppress the entire territory of South Korea.

The recent firing drills by North Korea were justified as a "natural response" to a weeklong joint military exercise between the US and South Korea. North Korea claimed that the military exercises involved thousands of troops, artillery, tanks, armored vehicles, and warplanes. The cooling of relations between the two Koreas began when North Korea launched a spy satellite into space in November, prompting South Korea to resume surveillance flights along the border.

The Korean War, which ended in 1953 with an armistice, divided the peninsula into North and South Korea. However, the two countries remain technically at war. The recent escalation in artillery fire raises concerns about the stability and security of the region.


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