North Korea fires artillery shells to the border for second time

Escalating tensions grip the Korean Peninsula as North Korea fires over 60 artillery shells near South Korean island of Yeongpyeong for second day.

On Saturday, North Korea’s military fired more than 60 artillery shells near the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong for second time, Seoul’s military said, a day after both sides conducted live-fire exercises in the same area near its disputed maritime border.

“North Korean forces fired more than 60 artillery shells from the northwest area of Yeonpyeong Island between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. (07:00 and 08:00 GMT),” Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, warning Pyongyang to end such acts.

This is the second episode of North Korean firing since yesterday, Friday, when the Kim Jong-un regime launched more than 200 artillery rounds in the maritime buffer zone between Capes Jangsan and Sanseong. The border area was evacuated by the Army and Seoul asked Pyongyang to “immediately cease these actions” that it described as provocative.

Residents of the two islands were ordered to evacuate to shelters and ferries were suspended, amid one of the most serious military escalations on the peninsula since Pyongyang fired projectiles at one of the islands in 2010.

On both Friday and Saturday, North Korean projectiles landed in a buffer zone created under a 2018 de-escalation agreement, which collapsed in November after the North launched a spy satellite.

Seoul’s military said Saturday that “North Korea’s repeated artillery fire within the zone of prohibited hostile acts poses a threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula and increases tensions.”

They issued “a strong warning” and urged North Korea to immediately end such actions.

“North Korea, following its claim of complete annulment of the ‘September 19 Military Agreement,’ continues to threaten our citizens with continuous artillery fire within the zone of prohibited hostile acts,” the Seoul Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The South Korean island of Yeonpyeong is located in the Yellow Sea, about 80 km west of the city of Incheon and 12 km south of the coast of the North Korean province of Hwanghae.

Relations between the two Koreas are at a moment of tension not seen in decades, after the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, inscribed in the Constitution the country’s vocation as a nuclear power, and tested several intercontinental ballistic missiles.

At an end-of-year political meeting, Kim warned of a nuclear attack from the South and called for strengthening the military arsenal in the face of a conflict that he stated could “break out at any moment.”

Hours before the rocket fire, Kim called for increasing production of missile launchers in preparation for a “military confrontation” with South Korea and the United States.

The official KCNA agency showed images of Kim with his daughter Ju Ae at a factory that produces the mobile erector launchers (TEL) used for the country’s intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Kim called for “a dynamic effort to increase production,” as he stated that the country must be prepared “for a military confrontation with the enemy,” KCNA published.

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