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North Korean Attacks On South Korean Islands: Threat To Peace On Korean Peninsula

According to a report by Seoul’s military, between 9:00 am and 11:00 am, North Korea attacked its west coast near the Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands. North Korea has fired over 200 rounds of artillery shells towards the north of the South Korean maritime buffer zone. This buffer zone of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), which is a UN established de-facto border, was drawn up in 1953 at the end of the Korean War. This place has long served as a disputed flashpoint between the two nations since then.

The South has called this move by the North a “provocative act” to disturb the peace within South Korea and escalate tensions between the North and the South. Both the civilians and the army stayed safe as the shells didn’t enter the Southern territory and struck the buffer zone only, said the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

North Korean shelling was after the warning it gave about its preparations for a war that may take place in the Korean region. Earlier in 2010, an attack by North Korea on Yeonpyeong island resulted in the loss of four lives.

In response to the artillery shelling by North Korea, South Korea, on Friday afternoon, also carried out maritime shooting drills. The defense ministry stated that the drills were a response to the provocation of shelling done by their northern neighbor in a buffer zone. The ministry also said that during their exercises, there was no activity from North Korea. The country, via a text message, ordered its citizens to vacate or find shelter on the island before initiating its military exercises. The civilians are instructed to stay indoors and minimize their outdoor activities, said a citizen to a media channel.

South Korean Defense Minister, Shin Won-sik aims at taking strict action “to completely wipe out the enemy” in order to prevent them from taking other provocative measures to destroy the region’s peace. He has ordered the military to stay alarmed and ready for any such action if needed.

North Korea has broken the military deal that prevented both countries from attacking each other’s region multiple times. It keeps on firing shells and launching missiles into the sea in South Korea. North Korea has caused such disturbances nine times in 2022 alone and the last time it did so was in December 2022. The military deal was partly broken by South Korea in November 2023 due to its concerns regarding the launch of a spy satellite into space by North Korea.

As Seoul partly withdrew from the deal earlier, Pyongyang has completely withdrawn from it and, therefore, started to end the measures it had taken in the past to avoid conflicts on sea, air and on the ground. North Korea aims to deploy a powerful and well-trained army along with the latest technology-based ordinance for the border region. But this step, according to some analysts, will not make much difference as North Korea already has a record of breaking the agreement multiple times. There has always been a chance of a clash between Northern and Southern Korea, said J. B. Yun working at the Korea Institute of Defense Analysis.

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