North and South Korea Exchange Warning Shots After North Intrudes Across Border

North and South Korea Exchange Warning Shots After North Intrudes Across Border
A North Korean guard post (top) is seen over a South Korean military fence (bottom) from the border city of Paju, on Dec. 15, 2020. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images)
Aldgra Fredly

North and South Korea early Monday morning exchanged warning shots along a disputed western maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea as a North Korean vessel reportedly crossed a sea border with the South.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it fired warning shots after a North Korean merchant vessel crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL) at 3.42 a.m. (local time) on Monday, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The NLL is the de facto sea border as drawn by the United Nations Command at the end of the 1950-53 Korean war.

North Korea’s military later issued a statement saying that it fired 10 shells of multiple rocket launchers at 5.15 a.m. (local time) where “naval enemy movement was detected,” according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The Korean People’s Army (KPA) accused the South Korean navy ship of intruding North Korea’s border by 2.5 to 5 kilometers (1.5 to 3 miles) at around 3.50 a.m. under the pretext of “controlling an unidentified ship,” state media reported.

Warning shots were once again fired to send a “grave warning” to South Korea over its naval intrusion, the KPA said, citing its previous artillery fire on the ground front that was meant to warn South Korea following its military drills on the Korean Peninsula.

The KPA was referring to its artillery firing on Oct. 18, when it fired about 100 artillery rounds off its west coast and another 150 rounds off its east coast to warn South Korea.
North Korea also fired 560 rounds into the buffer zone separating the two Koreas on Oct. 14 in response to South Korea’s joint military drills with the United States. There were no reports of damages as a result of the incidents.

The JCS said that North Korea’s artillery launch violated their Comprehensive Military Agreement, which called for a cessation of hostilities between the two Koreas, and urged North Korea to end its provocations that threaten regional stability.

North Korea has escalated its missile launches and dispatched warplanes in retaliation for South Korea’s joint military drills with the United States on the Korean Peninsula, which it regards as an “invasion rehearsal.”

The KPA said the artillery rounds were meant to send a “serious warning” to South Korea as the country’s “war drill against the North is going on in a frantic manner.”

Meanwhile, the North Korean regime has said it stands ready to use nuclear weapons against “hostile forces” amid its renewed flurry of missile tests.

North Korea passed a new law last month allowing it to conduct a nuclear strike “automatically” against any “hostile forces” posing an imminent threat. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the law will make his nation’s nuclear status “irreversible.”