South Korea said it fired tens of artillery rounds towards North Korea on Thursday after the North launched a shell towards a South Korean loudspeaker that had been blaring anti-Pyongyang broadcasts, as tension escalated on the peninsula.
Earlier, the North warned that it would take strong military action if the South does not end border propaganda broadcasts and dismantles the broadcast facilities “within 48 hours”.
South Korea’s finance minister said on Thursday that China’s decision to devalue the yuan puts “considerable pressure” on South Korea’s economy due to the global financial turmoil it has sparked.
Its 48-hour ultimatum to halt the broadcasts, delivered in a letter to the South Korean Defence Ministry via a joint military communications channel, was also uncharacteristically specific.
The South responded with artillery fire.
Two South Korean soldiers were maimed on August. 4 by land mines that the Seoul government says were recently laid by North Korea.
Authoritarian North Korea is extremely sensitive to any criticism of the government run by leader Kim Jong Un, whose family has ruled since the country was founded in 1948.
The move infuriated North Korea, which threatened over the weekend to blow up the South Korean speakers and also restarted its own propaganda broadcasts this week. Find us on Facebook too!
“Yeoncheon, the county where the North Korean rocket appeared to have landed, is one of the areas where the South had begun broadcasting propaganda”.
Fishing was suspended around three South Korean islands off the west coast, the coastguard said. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it could not confirm the report. Earlier in 2010, an alleged North Korean torpedo attack killed 46 South Korean sailors.
“People are going about their business completely as usual”, Morten Traavik, a Norwegian who organised a two-show visit to Pyongyang by Slovenian avant-garde rock band Laibach, said from the North Korean capital. The U.S. and South Korea say the drills are defensive.
In the border city of Paju, residents were asked to stay home.
The North Korean army said the South fired 36 rounds, six of which landed near its guard posts, and called the South’s firing “reckless provocation”, Pyongyang’s state KCNA news agency said.
The latest tensions erupted between the two countries after two South Korean soldiers were wounded by landmines in the DMZ last week.
The two Koreas remain technically at war, because the 1950-1953 war ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
There is another assasination attempt of President Park Chung-Hee by a North Korean commando in Seoul.
Before that, the Koreas tangled in a deadly artillery exchange in 2010, when North Korean artillery strikes on a South Korean border island killed four South Koreans.