The South Korean military said that North Korean artillery fired missile fire on Monday in the maritime “buffer zone” near the border with South Korea.
The North Korean army simultaneously fired about 130 artillery fires at 14:59 (05:59 GMT) from two different locations, one located in the east over the Sea of Japan and the other located in the west over the Yellow Sea. The South Korean General Staff said in a statement.
The General Staff described the shooting as a “clear violation” of the 2018 military agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang. This agreement provided for the establishment of a “buffer zone” on both sides of the inter-Korean maritime border, whereby any naval training or live firing is prohibited in order to reduce the risk of an accident.
The General Staff said that no shells landed on the South Korean side of the border.
For its part, North Korea claimed it was a “retaliatory warning” against what it described as multiple artillery fire by the South.
A spokesman for the General Staff of the North’s Korean People’s Army said in a statement that “dozens of projectiles” from several missile launchers were fired by the South on Monday.
“The North Korean army will always listen to all the enemy’s provocative actions and respond with decisive and overwhelming military action,” he said in the statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
Seoul did not report any military exercises, but local media said that the South Korean and US militaries are currently conducting shooting exercises in the area.
Pyongyang has fired artillery into the “buffer zone” on several occasions in recent months, at a time when tensions were running high on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea has also carried out a record series of missile launches in recent weeks, and Seoul and Washington have given it the intention to conduct a nuclear test soon, which will be the seventh in its history and the first since 2017.
Pyongyang, which is banned under UN Security Council resolutions from ballistic missile testing, says the tests are a response to large-scale military maneuvers by South Korea, the United States and Japan in the region.