Rising tensions between North and South Korea
(3 April 2014)
South Korea claims that a North Korean military exercise dropped shells into South Korean waters, which resulted in live fire being traded over the disputed western sea border.
The Yellow Sea or Western Sea maritime border has been a flashpoint for skirmishes between North and South Korea since the UN drew the border after the Korean War. The border, known as the Northern Limit Line, has never been recognised by North Korea.
South Korea reports that during the 3 hour incident hundreds of live rounds were exchanged. Even though no shells from either side were fired at and land or military installations, residents of South Korean border island Baengnyeong were evacuated to shelters.
In a similar incident in 2010, North Korea fired shells at the border island of Yeonpyeong, killing two marines and two civilians.
The military exercise was announced to the South Korean Navy by North Korea in a fax from its military. However, according to a South Korean Ministry of Defence statement, “Some of [the North Korean] shells landed south of the border during the drill. So our military fired back north of the border in line with ordinary protocol”
China, North Korea’s biggest trading partner, has called for calm and restraint after the exchange of fire.
North and South Korea exchange fire across western sea border, BBC News, 31 March 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-26815041
North, South Korea forces trade live fire over western sea border, The Japan Times, 31 March 2014. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/03/31/asia-pacific/north-south-korean-forces-trade-live-fire-over-western-sea-border/#.UzqEVqJUF8E
South Korea returns fire after North Korea Shells land in disputed waters, The Guardian, 31 March 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/31/south-korea-returns-fire-north-korean-shells