North and South Korea Are Shooting at Each Other
This can’t end well.
Things are getting hot on the 38th parallel.
North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire on Thursday, Reutersreports. North Korea reportedly shot first, launching shells into the South in exasperation over the latter’s anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts that began on August 10.
The South Korean military responded with dozens of artillery rounds in response. CNN notes that tensions along the Korean Peninsula have escalated recently after two South Korean soldiers were seriously injured by land mines in the dangerous demilitarized zone that serves as a buffer between the two nations.
According to Reuters, North Korea warned the South Korean government that “it would take military action” if the South didn’t cease its broadcasts within two days.
The Wall Street Journalnotes that the heightened tensions come as the U.S. and South Korea, long-time military allies, stage their annual summer exercises “to ensure readiness for a possible North Korean invasion.”
This isn’t the first time the two have exchanged fire in recent years. North Korea killed two South Korean marines after shelling a disputed island, and military boats fired upon each other in October 2014 while patrolling the Yellow Sea “after North Korean gunners apparently targeted balloons carrying leaflets critical of the country’s reclusive regime,” according to CNN.
A reminder: North and South Korea are still technically in a state of war. Still, the exchange of shells and escalating rhetoric doesn’t bode well for the uneasy cease-fire that’s kept the peninsula largely conflict-free for the last six decades.
Photos by KCNA/AFP/Getty Images