South Korea fired dozens of shells Thursday at rival North Korea after the North lobbed a single rocket at a South Korean town near the world’s most heavily armed border, the South’s Defense Ministry said.
The North was backing up an earlier threat to attack South Korean border loudspeakers that, after a lull of 11 years, have started broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda. The broadcasts are in response to Seoul’s accusation that the North planted land mines on the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone that maimed two South Korean soldiers earlier this month.
The ministry said in a statement that its artillery shells landed at the site where North Korea had fired its rocket. There were no other details from the military and no reports of injuries.
North Korea didn’t respond militarily to South Korea’s artillery barrage Thursday, but its army later warned in a message that it will take further military action within 48 hours if South Korea doesn’t pull down the loudspeakers, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
Authoritarian North Korea, which has also restarted its own propaganda broadcasts, is extremely sensitive to any criticism of the government run by leader Kim Jong Un, whose family has ruled since the North was founded in 1948. Pyongyang worries that the broadcasts could weaken Kim’s grip on absolute power, analysts say.
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