Two South Korean islands ordered to evacuate after shelling orchestrated by North Korea

Residents of two South Korean islands near North Korea received evacuation orders on Friday, January 5, after Pyongyang fired shells into their area.

“The North Korean military carried out more than 200 shots today between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. [1 heure et 3 heures, heure de Paris] in the Jangsan-got areas of northern Baengnyeong Island and the northern (…) from Yeonpyeong Island »declared a South Korean defense ministry official at a press conference.

Local authorities on Yeonpyeong Island told Agence France-Presse that civilians were ordered to evacuate as a precautionary measure. ” precautionary measure “. This South Korean island is located in the Yellow Sea, about 80 kilometers west of Incheon and 12 kilometers south of the coast of the North Korean province of Hwanghae.

“We are making evacuation announcements at this time”, a district official on Baengnyeong Island told Agence France-Presse, adding that he had been informed of an upcoming naval exercise by the South Korean army. This island is located a few dozen kilometers from the North Korean coast, also in the Yellow Sea.

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An “act of provocation”, denounces Seoul

In the wake of Pyongyang’s artillery barrage, South Korea denounced “act of provocation”urging his neighbor to put an end to it and warning that he would respond with measures “appropriate”.

“We strongly warn that North Korea bears full responsibility for this escalation of the crisis and we urge it to immediately cease its actionswrote the South Korean defense ministry in a statement. Our army is closely monitoring and monitoring the situation in close coordination with the United States. »

In 2010, Pyongyang fired 170 artillery shells at Yeonpyeong Island, killing four people, including two civilians, in the first North Korean attack against civilians since the Korean War (1950-1953).

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for increased production of missile launchers during a visit to an arms factory in preparation for a “military confrontation” with South Korea and the United States, state news agency KCNA reported Friday.

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The White House said Thursday that Pyongyang had provided Russia with ballistic missiles and launch systems used to carry out large-scale attacks in recent days against Ukraine.

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Deteriorated relationships

The two Koreas began a process of rapprochement in 2018, characterized by three meetings between the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and the South Korean president at the time, Moon Jae-in. But relations between the two countries deteriorated, reaching a low point in 2023, after the launch of a spy satellite by Pyongyang, which pushed Seoul to partially suspend a 2018 military agreement aimed at defusing tensions.

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At the end of a meeting of the central committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in late December, Kim Jong-un ordered the acceleration of military preparations for a ” war “ who could “be triggered at any time” on the peninsula.

In 2023, North Korea conducted a record number of ballistic missile tests, in violation of numerous United Nations resolutions prohibiting it. The country also engraved its status as a nuclear power in its Constitution, and successfully tested the Hwasong-18, the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in its arsenal, capable of reaching the United States.

The World with AFP

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