North Korea Fires 200 Artillery Shells Near South Korean Islands, Seoul Issues Stern Warning

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North Korea Fires 200 Artillery Shells Near South Korean Islands, Seoul Issues Stern Warning
Seoul, South Korea: North Korea fired more than 200 artillery shells near two South Korean islands on Friday, Seoul’s defence ministry said, warning the actions threatened peace in the Korean peninsula.

The live firing followed repeated warnings from Kim Jong Un that North Korea was prepared for war against South Korea and the US. After the firing of artillery shells, residents on the two islands were ordered to evacuate, in one of the most serious military escalations between the two since the North fired a barrage of shells at one of the islands in 2010.

In a statement, the South Korean Defence Ministry said: “This is a provocative act that threatens the peace on the Korean Peninsula.” “We sternly warn that North Korea bears full responsibility for this escalating crisis and strongly urge them to immediately cease these actions,” the ministry was quoted as saying by Yonhap. “Our military closely tracks and monitors the situation in close coordination with the United States, and will take appropriate measures in response to North Korea’s provocations.”

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EVACUATION ORDERS
South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island is situated in the Yellow Sea. It is located approximately 80 kilometres west of Incheon and 12 kilometres south of the coastline of Hwanghae Province, North Korea. News agencies reported that authorities on Baengnyeong Island also reported an evacuation order there.

Ties between the two Koreas are at one of their lowest points in decades, after Kim enshrined the country’s status as a nuclear power into the constitution while test-firing several advanced ICBMs. At Pyongyang’s key year-end policy meetings, Kim warned of a nuclear attack on the South and called for a build-up of the country’s military arsenal ahead of armed conflict that he warned could “break out any time”.

Kim accused the United States of posing “various forms of military threat” and ordered his armed forces to maintain the “overwhelming war response capability”, according to the state media outlet KCNA. The meeting concluded that it is a “fait accompli that a war may break out on the Korean peninsula any time due to the enemies’ reckless moves for invading the DPRK”, KCNA said.

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