A border dispute led to North and South Korea firing artillery at each other on Wednesday, according to various news reports. No deaths or injuries were reported, however the incident without a doubt raised already obvious tensions between the two sides.
The artillery fire comes one day after North Korea proclaimed that two no-sail zones be made into South Korea’s waters. This included a two-month ban on shipping in the particular zones.
North Korea issued warnings to South Korea last month, telling them to stay away from the border area. They said that any such act would be considered a “reckless military provocation.” Threats have been exchanged between the two since that time and today’s action, including threats of preemptive strikes and cutting off exchanges – even one of a “holy war,” according to AFP News.
A spokeswoman for North Korea told them “Our military fired warning shots with our Vulcan cannons and sent out radio warnings.”
According to Yonhap news, the North’s artillery fire landed near the south’s island of Baengnyeong in the Yellow Sea. Marines returned around 100 shells from cannons with ranges of 1.8-2.5 miles.
The artillery fire started at around 9 a.m. local time. According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, more shots were been fired at around 3 p.m. local time by the North.
According to officials in Korea, the low-impact artillery is likely to continue over the next few months. However, the intensity is not expected to be increased, as North Korea still has economic interests in the South. North Korea is also out-manned in terms of naval reinforcements.
North Korea has been capricious lately – they want to continue business ventures with the South, yet they threaten them with military action. AFP News also reports that the recent attacks could be a result of anger over sanctions on North Korea. Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, wishes to discuss a peace treaty with the U.S. before they further talks of nuclear disarmament.
A conflict broke out in November when a North Korean boat crossed into South Korean waters and refused to retreat. That particular skirmish engulfed the North’s boat in flames, with no reports of casualties.
Since the Korean War, both sides have been essentially at war with each other over the western sea border.
For now, this seems pretty innocuous. As reported by voanews.com, the artillery fire was part of an annual military drill – the South fired back as a warning. Hopefully, this is all just a lot of talk as the world could go without some bad news and conflict for a while – I’m sure you’d agree.