North Korea Rattles Sabres With Latest Artillery Barrage

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff criticized Kim Yo Jong’s remark as “comedy-like, crude propaganda” aimed at undermining public faith in the military and inflaming divides, while North Korea launched artillery rounds near its disputed maritime border with the South on Sunday.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Sunday afternoon, North Korea launched around 90 rounds along the disputed western maritime border between the two countries. Immediately, South Korea demanded that North Korea cease its provocative actions.

North Korea’s military subsequently revealed that live-firing drills were conducted using coastal artillery weapons. The direction of the shells launched did not pose any danger to South Korea. North Korea fired over 200 shells on Friday, while South Korea said that North Korea fired over 60 rounds on Saturday. North Korea, according to Kim Yo Jong, only tested the South Korean military’s detection capabilities by detonating blasting powder on the beach to mimic the sound of its coastal artillery.

In a tit-for-tat pattern, North Korea has been testing missiles nonstop since 2022, while South Korea has increased its military training with the US. This has led to heightened animosity between the two countries. In retaliation for North Korea’s artillery strikes on Friday, South Korean forces stationed on border islands opened fire along the maritime boundary. The two Korean shells landed inside a marine buffer zone they had set up in 2018 as part of a military accord to reduce tensions on the front lines.

In the lead-up to the legislative elections in South Korea in April and the presidential elections in the United States in November, experts predict that North Korea will ratchet up its weapons testing and rhetoric toward its adversaries.

Kim Jong has referred to South Korea’s military as “gangsters” and “clowns in military uniforms.” He implied that if South Korea were to misjudge North Korea’s future actions, it could lead to an unintentional clash between the two sides, endangering the safety of Seoul, a city of 10 million people located just an hour’s drive from the land border.