South Korea has lodged an official complaint against Pyongyang for conducting a live firing drill on an island inside the buffer zone near the de facto maritime border, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
North Korea’s state-operated Korean Central News Agency reported Monday that its leader Kim Jong-un had ordered a firing drill involving coastal artilleries on the Changrin Islets, just north of the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea.
As the live firing exercise took place inside the buffer zone that the two Koreas set up as part of an agreement to ban all military acts there, Seoul officially lodged a complaint against North Korea for violating the inter-Korean military pact on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said.
“We made it clear yesterday that North Korea’s coastal artillery drill is in violation of the Sept. 19 military agreement,” Choi Hyun-soo, the ministry’s spokeswoman, said in a regular press briefing.
“We also filed a strong complaint to the North via the military communication line installed in the West Sea district.”
The ministry made the complaint via the communication line in the Yellow Sea and sent a written protest via fax, a military official said.
The military authorities of the two Koreas signed the Comprehensive Military Agreement on Sept. 19, 2018, aimed at preventing all hostilities around the border areas.
The two sides agreed to set up buffer zones around the land, air and sea border areas, and banned all live-fire artillery drills and field training exercises at various levels in the buffer zones.
While the North did not elaborate on when the firing drill was conducted and how many artillery shells were fired, Seoul’s military confirmed that it had detected multiple sound sources identified as shelling on Saturday, before noon.
As Saturday marked the ninth anniversary of the Yeonpyeong Bombardment, the North appears to have deliberately conducted the live fire drill in the border area, to highlight the provocative nature of its action.
On Nov. 23, 2010, North Korea fired around 170 artillery shells and rockets at South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, just below the NLL, which hit both military and civilian targets. Four people died and 19 were injured in the incident.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)