North Korea responds to drills involving US
North Korea’s military unleashed a warning artillery barrage into the sea on Tuesday - the second such show of force since the start of the week. Pyongyang described the firing as a stern warning against “provocative” joint military exercises being held by South Korea and the US near the inter-Korean border.
According to a statement by the General Staff of the North Korean People’s Army (KPA) quoted by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the DPRK military detected the firing of multiple rocket launchers and howitzers south of the border at around 9:15 AM local time.
“We immediately ordered frontline artillery units to launch artillery firing into the sea to issue a strong warning,” an unnamed military official said in the statement.
Pyongyang demanded that Seoul immediately cease “provocative” military actions.
The latest barrage came just a day after the North fired over 130 artillery shells into the sea off its east and west coasts on Monday.
“We sternly warn the enemy not to stir up unnecessary escalation of tension along the front lines,” DPRK military officials said, commenting on the firing.
Meanwhile, South Korean authorities claimed that some of the shells fired by the North had landed in a buffer zone near the maritime border, which was established as part of the Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA) sealed between the two Koreas back in 2018.
Seoul’s defense ministry said in a statement that it had directed several warnings of its own to its northern neighbor.
The South Korea-US live-fire drills which raised the North’s ire are taking place in Cheorwon County bordering the DPRK. According to Reuters, the exercises are expected to continue on Tuesday.
Seoul and Washington have stepped up joint drills on the peninsula in recent months, explaining that they are meant to deter North Korea, which has been test-firing ballistic missiles recently.
The North has in turn described these military exercises as proof of hostile intent by South Korea and the US toward their country.