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Koreas Exchange Warning Shots Along Disputed Sea Border

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North and South Korea exchanged warning shots

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The militaries of North and South Korea exchanged warning shots near disputed western sea boundaries on Monday amid heightened military tension, according to officials from both countries.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement that its navy fired warning shots around 3:40 a.m. local time on Monday to repel a North Korean ship that it claims crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL) — the disputed sea boundary established by the UN at the end of the Korean War.

South Korea’s JCS called the North’s move a violation of a 2018 bilateral military agreement banning “hostile acts” in the border areas and urged it to cease “consistent provocations and accusations.”

The North Korean military said it “fired ten warning shots” allegedly in response to a South Korean navy ship crossing the sea border and firing warning shots “on the pretext of tracking down an unidentified ship,” according to state media.

“We ordered initial countermeasures to strongly expel the enemy warship,” a spokesperson for the General Staff of the North Korean People’s Army said, according to the official KCNA news agency.

A South Korean military official said it had conducted a “normal operation” regarding the border intrusion and rejected the North’s claim that its ship violated the NLL.

The sea boundary off the Korean Peninsula’s west coast is a source of a long-running feud between the Koreas. Since the 1990s, North Korea has been disputing the NLL, claiming it should lie farther to the south.

The boundary has been the scene of several inter-Korean naval battles and violence, including two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans.

The latest exchange of warning shots comes amid lingering tensions, with North Korea carrying out weapons tests at an unprecedented pace this year, as reported by The Dallas Express.

In recent weeks, North Korea has launched 15 short-range ballistic missiles and hundreds of artillery rounds off its east and west coasts towards the sea in response to what it views as provocative military drills conducted by South Korea and the United States.

South Korea and the U.S. regularly conduct military drills they claim are defensive in nature to maintain their readiness against a potential North Korean attack.

South Korea’s troops began their annual Hoguk defense drills last week, which will run until October 28. An unknown number of U.S. troops are participating in this year’s drills.

As part of this year’s annual program, South Korean naval forces said Monday they would be bringing together about 20 of its warships and U.S.-supplied equipment such as Apache attack helicopters and A-10 strike aircraft.

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