North Korea and South Korea exchange artillery fire along DMZ as tensions escalate


Update: 

More details coming in this afternoon about the situation along the DMZ on the Korean peninsula after artillery fire was exchanged Thursday between the two longtime foes.

“We detected signs that the North Korean military staged two rounds of firearm provocation in the southern part of the Military Demarcation Line, and fired dozens of rounds of a 155-millimeter self-propelled gun as warning shots,” Col. Jeon Ha-kyu said at a news briefing.

Some reports have indicated that North Korea’s military was targeting propaganda speakers set up along the border.  The North’s anti-aircraft gun ammunition appeared to have hit an “uninhabited hill located several kilometers away from a loudspeaker set,” a Defense Ministry official said.

South Korea started using the speakers in recent weeks, resuming psychological warfare along the DMZ, to broadcast anti-north Korean messages into North Korea. The move infuriated the tightly controlled regime of Kim Jong-un, who called the broadcasting “a direct action of declaring a war.”

Military officials told the Korea Herald: “The North fired a 14.5-milimeter anti-aircraft gun once at around 3:53 p.m. at a town in Yeoncheon County, Gyeonggi Province, and then a 76.2-mm direct fire weapon “several times” at 4:15 p.m. within the Demilitarized Zone.”

Shortly after detection, “the Army discharged a 155-milimeter self-propelled gun at 5:04 p.m.”

Korea Times posted this image of the the ROK army firing artillery near western border on Thursday.  Photo Credit: Twitter
Korea Times posted this image of the the ROK army firing artillery near western border on Thursday. Photo Credit: Twitter

South Korean officials said there were no reports of any injuries due to the exchange of fire.

Military officials in South Korea said they are closely monitoring the North Korean military’s movement and maintaining “full readiness to respond robustly and firmly to any further provocation.”

An evacuation order was also issued for some residents of Yeoncheon, Paju, Ganghwado Island and other border areas.

“With the absolute majority of North Koreans remaining isolated from the outside world, the broadcasts have proved to be a rare source for news of the execution and purge of elite military executives and other power struggles within the top echelons, information about free democracy and other regional and global issues,” the Herald reported.

The “propaganda” broadcasts were resumed this month for the first time in more than a decade after two South Korean soldiers lost their legs after stepping on land mines. A UN investigation found that the mines were planted by North Korea.

S. Korea says this is how N. Koreans planted the mine on the south side of the demilitarized zone DMZ fence. Photo credit: Korea Times Twitter
S. Korea says this is how N. Koreans planted the mine on the south side of the demilitarized zone DMZ fence. Photo credit: Korea Times Twitter

The North has threatened further military action unless propaganda broadcasts are stopped within 48 hours, according to local news agencies.

Original Article
South Korea fired a few dozen artillery rounds towards the north Thursday, in an incident which reportedly began when two rockets were fired across the border from North Korea.

The South Korean military is on high alert, monitoring North Korea’s movements after South Korea detected a projectile, assumed to be a small rocket, which was fired toward the western province of Gyeonggi.  The rockets reportedly landed in a remote area without harming anyone.

Some reports have indicated that North Korean military was targeting propaganda speakers set up along the border.  South Korea started use the speakers in recent weeks, resuming psychological warfare, along the DMZ to broadcast anti-north Korean messages into North Korea.

The move infuriated the tightly controlled regime of Kim Jong Un, who controls anything that goes into North Korea. He called the broadcasting “a direct action of declaring a war.” According to CNN, North Korea threatened over the weekend to blow up the South Korean speakers and also warned of “indiscriminate strikes.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that, “Relations between the rival Koreas have deteriorated in recent months as Pyongyang has rejected all approaches for dialogue from Seoul.”

This also comes as the U.S. and South Korea stage annual summer military exercises to ensure readiness for a possible North Korean invasion, according to media reports.

The “propaganda” broadcasts were resumed this month for the first time in more than a decade after two South Korean soldiers lost their legs after stepping on land mines. A UN investigation found that the mines were planted by North Korea.

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