North and South Korea exchanged warning shots along the disputed western maritime border of the Yellow Sea early Monday morning as a North Korean ship reportedly crossed the maritime border with the South.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it fired warning shots after a North Korean merchant ship crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL) at 3:42 a.m. local time on Monday, Yonhap News Agency. report.
The NLL is the de facto sea boundary drawn by the United Nations Command at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
The North Korean military later issued a statement saying it fired 10 rounds from multiple rocket launchers at 5:15 a.m. local time, when “adversary naval movement was detected,” according to state news agency. . Korea Central News Agency (KCNA).
The Korean People’s Army (KPA) alleged that a South Korean Navy vessel intruded 2.5 to 5 kilometers (1.5 to 3 miles) into the North Korean border at around 3:50 a.m. on the pretext that it “steered an unidentified vessel.” , state media reported.
The KPA said warning shots were fired to send a “serious warning” to South Korea about a naval incursion, citing previous artillery fire on the ground line meant to warn South Korea after military exercises on the Korean Peninsula. He said it was fired again.
The KPA refers to the October 18 shelling, firing about 100 shells on the west coast and another 150 on the east coast to warn South Korea.
North Korea also fired 560 shells into the North-South buffer zone on October 14 in response to South Korea’s joint military exercises with the United States. There were no reports of damage from the accident.
The JCS said North Korea’s artillery strikes violated a comprehensive military agreement calling for an end to hostilities between the two Koreas, and urged North Korea to stop provocations that threaten regional stability.
North Korea has escalated missile launches and sent fighter jets in retaliation for South Korea’s joint military exercises with the United States on the Korean peninsula, which it sees as a “rehearsal for aggression.”
The KPA said the artillery strikes were intended to send a “severe warning” to South Korea as its “war drills against North Korea are desperately underway”.
Meanwhile, the North Korean regime has said it is ready to use nuclear weapons against “hostile forces” amid a spate of new missile tests.
North Korea passed a new law last month that would allow it to “automatically” launch a nuclear strike against any “hostile force” that poses an imminent threat. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the law would make North Korea’s nuclear arsenal “irreversible”.