North Korea Continues Artillery Firings Near Western Maritime Border for Third Day

SEOUL - The South Korean military reported that North Korea fired approximately 90 artillery shots into the waters off its western coast on Sunday, marking the third consecutive day of such drills near the tense western border.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the artillery firings were detected in the maritime buffer zone north of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border in the Yellow Sea, and near the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong. The firings occurred between approximately 4 p.m. and 5:10 p.m. This buffer zone was established under a 2018 inter-Korean military accord aimed at reducing tensions along the border.

The JCS confirmed that there was no damage to South Korean military or civilian areas from the latest firing. Furthermore, there are no plans for the South Korean military to conduct drills in response to these actions.

This series of artillery drills by North Korea has heightened tensions near the maritime border. Earlier in the day, Ongjin County, which oversees South Korea's northwestern border islands, issued a warning due to artillery fire heard from the North Korean side.

On Friday, North Korea fired around 200 artillery shells from its southwestern coastal areas, leading South Korean troops on the front-line islands of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong to conduct live-fire drills near the buffer zone, a first since the 2018 pact.

This firing marked North Korea's 16th artillery exercise into the zone, including a missile launch in 2022. In November, Pyongyang declared its intention to restore military measures previously halted under the 2018 agreement, which established buffer zones in land, sea, and air and banned live-fire drills near the border to prevent accidental clashes.

On Saturday, North Korea conducted live-fire drills for the second day, firing around 60 shells into the buffer zone, as reported by the JCS.

Earlier Sunday, Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, claimed that the North had conducted a "deceptive operation" by detonating explosives to simulate the sound of 130 mm coastal artillery the previous day, mocking the South Korean military's detection capabilities. However, the JCS dismissed Kim's statement as "comedic low-grade" propaganda, affirming the detection of North Korea's artillery firing on Saturday by South Korean military assets.

The Korean People's Army (KPA) confirmed Sunday evening that the latest artillery firing was part of regular training and that Saturday's operation was a simulation to mimic shelling, as reported by the Korean Central News Agency.

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