South Korea fired dozens of artillery rounds towards the North after North Korea launched a shell towards a South Korean loudspeaker that was blaring anti-North propaganda. The incident happened mid morning on Thursday, local time.
North Korea did not immediately return fire but it did warn Seoul in a letter that it would indeed take military action if South Korea did not take down the loudspeakers within 48 hours. It further threatened of “indiscriminate strikes” if its demand was not met.
This most recent round of back-and-forth between the two countries started when two South Korean soldiers were injured severely when a landmine exploded on a South Korean patrol route. An investigation concluded that the landmines were not left over from several years ago but rather were newly placed wooden box landmines belonging to North Korea.
North Korea denied the attack, but in retaliation, South Korea erected loudspeakers that have not been used in years and began blasting anti-North propaganda in the direction of North Korea. The South believed that the North placed the landmines to show its opposition to a scheduled joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea. North Korea was very vocal about its opposition to the exercise, calling it preparation for an attack on the North.
The joint military exercise remained on schedule and began Monday, when North Korea began its own propaganda broadcasts blaring at the South. As South Korea did not remove its loudspeakers, North Korea fired a missile in its direction.
South Korea said that its detection equipment spotted a suspected North Korean missile heading in its direction. The missile did not strike the loudspeaker nor did it injure anyone.
South Korea responded by placing its military on high alert and firing tens of artillery rounds towards North Korea. South Korean President Park Geun-hye instructed the country’s top defense officials to “react firmly” to any North Korean provocations, the latest sign that the once pacifist South has run out of patience with its belligerent neighbor.