South Korea and North Korea exchange Fire
South Korea sent artillery shells into North Korea after a rocket was fired across the Western section of their border at around 4 p.m. local time on Thursday.
North Korea fired a rocket towards Yeoncheon, a town northwest of Seoul. Officials stated that the target could have been a loudspeaker that was broadcasting anti-DPRK messages.
The South aimed dozens of 155 mm shells at the launch site of the rocket in retaliation , according to authorities.
South Korea has evacuated 80 residents from Yeoncheon, and sent them to shelters. Other western Korean residents were strongly urged to leave their businesses and homes to take refuge in bunkers and shelters.
The South Korean National Security Council held an emergency session over this latest breach, as did the North Korean Central Military Commission.
On Aug 4, two members of the South Korean Army were maimed in a land mine explosion during a joint U.S.- South Korea military exercise.
South Korea blamed the North for planting the mine, and on Monday resumed the practice of using high decibel loudspeakers to blast anti-North propaganda across the border. It was a practice which had been stopped in 2004. Monday also saw the escalation of threats.
North Korea threatened “indiscriminate” shelling of the loudspeakers unless they were “halted immediately.” They also issued a 48 hour ultimatum to make them stop.
According to Yahoo News, the North usually just sends rockets into the Sea of Japan when the annual military exercise with the United States occurs. The last direct attack was in 2010.
“Sending a rocket over the border is surprising, because the inherent risks are just so big. If it had hit something strategic or caused any casualties, the South’s response would have been far stronger, and then suddenly we’re on the path towards a serious confrontation.” Dan Pinkston, Korean Expert at the International Crisis Group in Seoul.
Both North and South Korea have traded artillery fire off and on for years. But as tensions grow, so do the dangers.
— James Pearson (@pearswick) August 20, 2015
North Korea’s central military commission held an emergency meeting after exchanging fire with the South http://t.co/OA7o0wOOnT
— Bloomberg Business (@business) August 20, 2015