North Korea conducts firing drills near disputed border with South

SEOUL Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:24am EDT

A North Korean soldier observes activities in the south of the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating North Korea from South Korea, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul, September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

A North Korean soldier observes activities in the south of the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating North Korea from South Korea, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul, September 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea conducted live fire drills on Tuesday in two areas near a disputed sea border with South Korea that have been the scene of deadly clashes and where they fired hundreds of artillery rounds only weeks ago.

North Korea conducted similar drills in late March, firing more than 500 artillery rounds near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed maritime border that has been the de facto sea border since the 1950-53 Korean war.

More than 100 rounds landed south of the border during that drill, prompting South Korea to fire hundreds of rounds back into the North's waters.

The latest round of firing began in mid-afternoon. No rounds appeared to have landed south of the NLL border, a military official from the South said.

It came hours after the North notified South Korea of the areas near populated South Korean islands where it would conduct the exercise.

The Northern Limit Line is an extension of the land border between the two Koreas, stretching into the sea west of the Korean peninsula.

North Korea has refused to recognize the line as the sea border and has periodically challenged the South by violating it and demanding a new border be set further to the south.

The existing line curves northwards, effectively isolating five remote, South Korean-controlled islands from the mainland. The furthest of those islands is closer to Pyongyang than Seoul.

South Korean military officials told residents to seek cover in shelters dotted around the small fishing villages and farming hamlets on the islands, another official from the South said.

South Korea increased its military presence on the islands after the 2010 bombardment of Yeonpyeong island by the North, which it said was in response to South Korean artillery drills.

China, North Korea's most important diplomatic and economic supporter, said both sides should try to reduce tensions.

"We hope the relevant parties can take actions that help ease the situation and are beneficial to peace and stability on the peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing.

Naval clashes, most notably in 1999 and 2002, killed an unconfirmed number of sailors on both sides.

In March 2010, a South Korean navy ship was hit by a torpedo and sunk, killing 46 on board. North Korea has denied blame.

(Writing by Jack Kim; Additional reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING; Editing by Paul Tait and Ron Popeski)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
milkcarton232 wrote:
sounds like siblings arguing… im not touching you, im not touching you

Apr 28, 2014 9:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DURO wrote:
Hey, lets start it!

Apr 28, 2014 11:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
traffikator wrote:
Okay. Unless war breaks out, we don’t want to hear squat about the fat pig starving his people so he can waste money firing bullets to stay in the news. This is what he wants. If we wait long enough, he will eventually have nobody to rule over as they will have starved to death and hopefully stop having children as protest. Now that would be nice to see what short stop would do to force people into having more children so they can keep building an army. if they go to war, the only thing we need to do is to drop batches of food on them starving people. They would hide the weapons in a heartbeat. So stop reporting every time the north sneeze or catch a cold. Find something else more useful to report.

Apr 29, 2014 3:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.