Tensions fire up between North and South Korea

North and South Korea exchanged artillery shell barrages aimed at water in each other’s territories on Monday, March 31, according to CNN. This event, which appears to have occurred during a training exercise, came just one day after North Korea raised the possibility of further nuclear testing.

In response to North Koreans launching fire into South Korean waters, South Korea retaliates. AP Photo.
In response to North Koreans launching fire into South Korean waters, South Korea retaliates.
AP Photo.

The story originally comes from South Korean semi-official news agency Yonhap, which reported that North Korea had originally warned South Korean officials about the training exercise. According to the report from CNN, the warning came via fax message earlier in the day on Monday.

“North Korea demanded South Korea control its vessels in seven regions north of the NLL before it holds the live-fire drills,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff told Yonhap. “We have banned vessels from entering the training zone for the safety of residents and sailors.”

According to the report on Yonhap, South Korean officials did not view the warning as a positive.

“We consider that the North’s announcement contains hostile intentions,” Army Col. Wi Wong-seop, the vice defense ministry spokesman, said in a briefing according to Yonhap. “(North Korea) is believed to be creating a crisis situation on the Korean Peninsula by raising tensions near the western maritime border.”

According to CNN, the Joint Chiefs also told Yonhap that the exchange happened after approximately 100 out of 500 artillery shells North Korea launched fell into water that was south of the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea, which prompted the South to fire 300 artillery shells into North Korean waters. According to the report, South Korea also responded by dispatching fighter jets to the area.

“Some (North Korean) artillery fire landed in (the) southern part of Northern Limit Line but in the water,” a South Korean Ministry of Defense spokesman told CNN. “We counter-fired over the Northern Limit Line.”

The South was also quick to confirm that they did not have hostile intentions. According to CNN, when asked about the counter-fire the defense spokesman said, “We are not shooting at North Korea, just shooting into the sea.”

As of Monday evening, North Korea had yet to retaliate or make a statement about the event, but according to the CNN report North Korea had continued its offshore firing after a brief interlude.

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