North Korea fires artillery shells at the buffer zone

Seoul’s military said North Korea fired a barrage of artillery shells into a buffer sea zone on Monday, the latest in a series of launches by the increasingly belligerent Pyongyang.

North Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that about 130 artillery rounds were fired simultaneously at 2:59 pm (0559 GMT) from two separate locations, one on North Korea’s east coast and the other on the west coast.

North Korea missile tests

Seoul’s military said the missile strike was a “clear violation” of the 2018 North-South agreement that created the buffer zone in an effort to reduce tensions.

It said none of the shells crossed the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border between the two countries.

Also read: Kim Jong-un says North Korea will have the most powerful nuclear power in the world

The army said it had issued “several warnings” about the barrage, without giving further details.

She added, “Our army is strengthening its position of readiness in preparation for emergencies while tracking and monitoring relevant developments within the framework of close cooperation between South Korea and the United States.”

“mutual warning”

However, North Korea claimed that the barrage was a “mutual warning” against what it described as multiple artillery barrages being fired by the South.

A spokesman for the General Staff of the North Korean People’s Army said in a statement that “dozens of projectiles presumed to be multiple rocket launchers” were fired by South Korea on Monday.

The North Korean military “will always take into account all the enemy’s provocative actions and respond with decisive and overwhelming military action,” said a statement quoted by the official. Korean Central News Agency.

The Seoul military did not mention any exercises, but local reports said that the South Korean and US militaries were conducting shooting exercises in the area.

buffer zones

At a summit in Pyongyang in 2018, former South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Kim Jong-un agreed to create buffer zones along land and sea borders in an effort to reduce tensions.

But since the talks collapsed in 2019, Kim has doubled down on banned weapons programs, and experts say he may now be testing South Korea by violating the buffer zone agreement.

Also read: Kim Jong Un’s sister slams UN for ‘double standards’

Pyongyang has repeatedly fired artillery into the buffer zone in recent months.

It has also conducted an unprecedented offensive in missile launches in recent weeks, including the latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) last month, the most powerful test of its kind by the nuclear-armed country to date.

Pyongyang, which is barred from ballistic missile testing under repeated UN Security Council resolutions, has claimed its weapons tests are a legitimate response to Washington’s moves to boost protection for its allies Seoul and Tokyo.

Officials and analysts in Seoul and Washington say the launch could amount to a seventh nuclear test.

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