North Korea fired around 130 artillery shells into buffer zone areas near the east and west sea borders on Monday, South Korean defense officials said. File Photo by Yonhap
SEOUL, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- North Korea fired around 130 artillery shells into the sea off its east and west coasts on Monday, the South Korean military said, in Pyongyang's latest provocation near the inter-Korean maritime boundary.
Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected the artillery rounds starting at 2:59 p.m. from multiple rocket launchers in Kumgang County in Kangwon Province and Jangsan Cape in South Hwanghae Province. The shells landed within maritime buffer zones north of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto sea border, the JCS said.
While the North does not recognize the NLL, which was never formally established after the 1950-53 Korean War, both countries agreed on the buffer zones under a military accord signed on Sept. 19, 2018, to reduce border tensions.
The South Korean military sent several warnings to the North about violating the military agreement and calling for an immediate cessation of provocations, the JCS said in a text message to reporters.
"Artillery fire into the east and west maritime buffer zones is a clear violation of the Sept. 19 military agreement, and we strongly urge an immediate halt," the JCS said.
Pyongyang has conducted several military drills near the sea border this year. The two Koreas exchanged warning fire in October after Seoul accused a North Korean vessel of intruding into its territorial waters in the Yellow Sea.
North Korea has long demanded that the NLL be moved further south, and skirmishes have broken out several times in the area, including a 2009 exchange of fire between the North and South Korean navies near Daecheong Island.
In 2010, the North bombarded Yeonpyeong Island with artillery and rockets after a South Korean exercise in disputed waters of the Yellow Sea, hitting both military and civilian targets and setting off an exchange of fire that left several dead and injured on both sides.
Monday's artillery fire comes days after South Korea joined the United States and Japan in imposing new unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang in response to its flurry of missile launches this year.