North, South Korea exchange artillery fire and threats

North Korea and South Korea traded artillery fire on Thursday after tensions in the region escalated. The countries also used loud speakers to send propaganda messages across the demilitarized zone that serves as a barrier. Kim Jong Un’s regime said that Seoul must remove the speakers by Saturday, or North Korea will take further military action, according to the Washington Post.

The warning came shortly after a rare exchange of heavy artillery fire between the countries, rattling nerves in the South during a time of heightened tensions.

“The North side threatened to start military action if the South does not stop its anti-Pyongyang psychological broadcasting and remove all the facilities in 48 hours from 5 p.m.,” South Korea’s ministry of national defense said, quoting a letter from the North’s general staff department, according to Yonhap News Agency, reports the Washington Post.

North Korea is believed to have first shot a rocket at a South Korean speaker. South Korea responded by firing ” ‘tens’ of 155mm artillery rounds to the origin point of the North Korean projectile,” according to Al Jazeera.

The exchange of fire is not unheard of, but is relatively unusual.

The relationship between the two countries became more troubled earlier in August. Two South Korean soldiers were severely injured on August 4 after they encountered landmines in the DMZ.

The U.S. believes North Korea deliberately placed mines in the path of a South Korean patrol in the demilitarized zone between the two countries, sparking the exchanges, the official said.

Tensions spiked on the Korean Peninsula after two South Korean soldiers were seriously wounded by landmines on August 4 in the demilitarized zone, according to CNN.

The U.S. is monitoring the situation, as is the rest of the world.

[Washington Post] [Al Jazeera] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Reuters]

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