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North Korea fires artillery shells towards South’s Yeonpyeong border

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North Korea reopens borders to foreigners after three years – Chinese Media

North Korea has fired more than 200 rounds of artillery shells off its west coast, towards the South’s Yeonpyeong island, Seoul’s military disclosed.

South Korea quickly issued an evacuation order to the inhabitants of the island but has yet to determine whether it is related to the bombardment.

The move has been denounced as a “provocative act” by the South.

North Korean artillery shelled Yeonpyeong island numerous times in 2010, killing four civilians.

The artillery projectiles fired on Friday between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. local time (00:00 and 2:00 p.m. GMT) did not enter South Korean soil, instead landing in the buffer zone between the two countries.

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The event caused “no damage to our people or military,” according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, but it “threatens peace on the Korean peninsula and raises tensions.”

The shelling comes after Pyongyang warned that it was stockpiling weapons in readiness for a war that may “break out at any time” on the peninsula.

Authorities on nearby Baengnyeong Island have also issued an evacuation order.

The latest incident comes months after North Korea terminated a military agreement with the South aimed at mending tensions.

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Following that, Pyongyang stated that it would withdraw all steps “taken to prevent military conflict in all spheres, including ground, sea, and air,” and deploy “more powerful armed forces and new-type military hardware” in the border region.

However, North Korea had repeatedly breached the agreement in the previous two years, launching missiles and firing artillery rounds into the sea in the direction of the South.

North Korea last fired artillery projectiles into the sea in December 2022, with nine such events occurring that year alone.

Yeonpyeong island, which is home to a military base and a tiny civilian population of around 2,000 people, is located 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea and 12 kilometers from the North Korean shore.

Over the years, it has been the site of inter-Korean naval skirmishes.

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Two servicemen and two civilians were killed in 2010 when North Korea fired dozens of artillery bombs onto the island.

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