South Korea reportedly ordered citizens on the border island of Yeonpyeong to move to shelters after North Korea fired 200 artillery shells into the sea near the island, local media reported on Friday.
“We announced the evacuation after receiving a call from a military unit saying it was carrying out a naval strike on Yeongpyeong Island, as it has a North Korean provocation situation,” an official said. Yonhap News. The emergency evacuation order was issued at 12:02 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. local time on Friday, the report said.
Separately, Chosun Ilbo cited South Korea The head of the Public Affairs Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lee Seong-jun, said: “The North Korean military fired more than 200 rounds from 9:00 to 11:00 today in the area of Cape Jangshan, north of Baengnyeong Island, and Cape Sansan, north of Yeonpyeong Island.’
In response, the South Korean Marine Corps ordered the evacuation of Yeonpyeong’s citizens and planned a “sea firing exercise” for the afternoon. Chosun Ilbo reported.
The official added that most residents have gone to shelters and that the end time of the evacuation exercise has not yet been determined.
The Chosun Ilbo added: “It is known that the Marine Corps naval gunnery training was a response to this,” referring to the North Korean fire.
Yeonpyeong Island is located near what is known as the “Northern Limit Line”, the de facto sea border that separates the two Koreas. None of the shells fired on Friday crossed the NLL, Reuters reported.
In a major escalation of tension in November 2010, the island was bombed by North Korean artillery, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians. At least 18 people were injured at the time and more than 100 buildings were damaged.
At that timethen UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it one of the “most serious incidents” since the Korean War.
North Korea and South Korea are still officially at war, as the 1953 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a formal peace treaty.
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