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Updated January 8th, 2024 at 08:55 IST

North Korea Sabre-Rattles near South Korean Maritime Border with 90 Artillery Shots

North Korea's consecutive artillery drills near the maritime border raised tensions, with no reported damage and no retaliation initiated.

Digital Desk
 North Korea fired around 90 artillery shots into waters off its western coast on Sunday
North Korea fired around 90 artillery shots into waters off its western coast on Sunday | Image:Reuters/ South Korean Defence Ministry
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North Korea reportedly fired approximately 90 artillery shots into waters off its western coast on Sunday, said local media sources quoting South Korea's military officials.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stated that the artillery firings were detected in the maritime buffer zone north of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border in the Yellow Sea, and near South Korea's border island of Yeonpyeong. This activity occurred between 4 pm and 5:10 pm local time, the JCS confirmed.

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Despite the artillery fire, there were no reported damages to the South Korean military or civilians, noted a JCS official. It was further mentioned that South Korea's military does not plan to conduct retaliatory drills in response to this incident.

Third consecutive day of drills near South Korea's maritime boundaries

This marks the third consecutive day of reported North Korean artillery drills in the region, heightening tensions near the maritime border. Ongjin County, which governs South Korea's northwestern islands, issued a cautionary warning to the border islands as the sounds of artillery fire emanated from the North Korean side.

"Troops on Yeonpyeong Island are currently responding, but residents are advised to be cautious of outdoor activities," the county advised in a text message sent to islanders.

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Notably, this recent artillery firing follows earlier drills staged by North Korea from its southwestern coast. On Friday, around 200 artillery shells were fired from these coastal areas, prompting South Korean troops on front-line islands like Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong to conduct live-fire drills in response.

This recent spate of provocations is part of North Korea's pattern, including a missile launch in December 2022, totaling 16 similar artillery firings. The South Korean military notably conducted live-fire drills near the maritime buffer zone for the first time since the signing of the 2018 inter-Korean military accord, Yonhap news agency reported.

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Pyongyang's sabre-rattling surge following reinstatement of new Military measures

This surge in ‘sabre-rattling’ comes after Pyongyang's declaration in November to reinstate military measures ceased under the 2018 inter-Korean military agreement. The accord established buffer zones and prohibited live-fire drills near the border area to avert accidental clashes.

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The North's live-fire drills persisted for a second consecutive day on Saturday, firing approximately 60 shells from the western coast, as disclosed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Earlier on the same day, Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, claimed that Pyongyang conducted a deceptive operation by simulating the sound of 130 mm coastal artillery explosives the day before, questioning South Korea's military detection capabilities, as reported by local South Korean news agencies.

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Published January 8th, 2024 at 08:55 IST

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