North Korea orders new artillery fires, nuclear test could be next
South Korea said today it had ordered the armed forces to carry out artillery fire in the coastal zone for the second consecutive day, in response to South Korea’s live-fire exercises near the border.
The statement by the North Korean People’s Army General Staff comes a day after top military officials in Seoul said that Pyongyang had fired more than 130 artillery rounds in the coastal zone, aggravating the situation between the two countries.
An unnamed North Korean military spokesman said today’s planned artillery fire was a warning to the South after Pyongyang detected signs of South Korean artillery drills near the land border.
The South Korean army is conducting live-fire exercises, involving various rocket and cannon delivery systems, at two separate test ranges in the Cheorwon region, which began on Monday and continue through Wednesday.
North Korea’s army confirmed on Monday that it had instructed coastal units in the west and east of the country to fire artillery as a warning after detecting dozens of South Korean shells southeast of Cheorwon.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday’s projectiles hit north of the buffer zone created in 2018 as part of an agreement between the two Koreas aimed at reducing military tensions.
Even so, the South Korean military issued a verbal warning asking North Korea to end the shooting and to comply with the agreement reached between the two countries.
Japan and South Korea on Friday announced new sanctions against North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s stepping up missile tests.
Seoul said that the sanctions affect eight individuals and seven companies linked to acquisition operations for the development of weapons of mass destruction, according to a note from the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The artillery fire comes at a time of heightened tension after Pyongyang carried out a record number of missile tests in November in response to joint military maneuvers by Seoul and Washington, giving rise to a dangerous escalation on the Korean peninsula.
According to satellite images, it is possible that the North Korean regime will soon carry out a new nuclear test, for which it has been prepared for several months.
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