North Korea continues live-fire drill near South island
North Korea continues to carry out a live-fire drill for a second consecutive day by firing dozens of artillery shells into the sea near the disputed maritime border with South Korea.
According to the South’s Defense Ministry, North Korean forces began live-fire drills late Wednesday near a South Korean front-line island, the scene of deadly clashes in recent years.
The ministry sources on Thursday said the North fired about 130 shells from a warship and its coast near the sea border over the past few hours. South Korean officials have vowed to react “sternly” if North Korean shells fell south of the border.
“South Korean troops are keeping a tight guard against any provocations from North Korea,” media outlets quoted a Defense Ministry spokesman as saying.
However, sources said no artillery rounds fired by North Korean forces have landed on the South side of the border.
The South’s general staff also said in a separate statement that North Korea had earlier informed Seoul that it would carry out the drills for three days in its territorial waters.
In recent years, South Korea has conducted several joint military drills with the United States on the Korean Peninsula despite condemnation from Pyongyang.
In the past few months, the land and sea borders between the two countries have seen a number of minor skirmishes involving exchanges of fire, but with no reported casualties.
In October 2014, the two Koreas agreed to resume a high-level dialogue. However, both sides have since then traded allegations of insincerity.
The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of military rhetoric since the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953. No peace deal has been signed since then, meaning that Pyongyang and Seoul remain technically at war.
North Korea also accuses US President Barack Obama of plotting with regional allies to topple the government in Pyongyang. North Korea says it will not relinquish its nuclear deterrence unless the United States ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.