SEOUL ( Associated Press) – North Korea fired about 130 possible artillery shells into waters near the border on the Korean peninsula’s east and west coasts, the South Korean military said Monday. The military action soured relations between the two neighbours.
The North Korean military said the sorties were a warning against South Korea’s artillery drills these days near the inner border city of Chaerwon, accusing it of worsening tensions in the South.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the shells fell on Monday afternoon north of the separation zones established under a 2018 inter-Korean agreement to reduce military tensions. Initially there were no reports of shells falling in South Korean territorial waters.
The South Korean military said it issued a verbal warning to North Korea about the shooting and urged it to abide by the agreement.
The incident comes days after Washington, Seoul and Tokyo announced mostly symbolic sanctions on some North Korean citizens and institutions accused of illegal activities to finance the country’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.
North Korea had not fired at the Maritime Isolation Zones since November 3, when some 80 artillery shells were fired at the North Korean side of the area on its east coast.
North Korea has launched dozens of missiles this year in a display of its weapons, at a record pace, and has included tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile system capable of reaching the US mainland, as well as a long-range There is also a missile. that flew over Japan.
North Korea has launched several short-range launches of what it has described as simulated nuclear strikes on South Korean and American targets, in response to anger over the expansion of joint US-South Korean military drills, and which the North Koreans have mistaken for tests. interprets as potential attack.
Experts say North Korea’s goal is to negotiate economic and security concessions from a position of strength and force the United States to accept it as a nuclear power. South Korean officials have said that Pyongyang may soon conduct its first nuclear test since 2017.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called a major political summit before the end of the year, North Korean state media said last week. The president is expected to discuss increasingly strained relations with Washington and Seoul over the expansion of its nuclear and missile programs.