Jung Yeon-je Agence France-Presse Pyongyang fired around 200 artillery shells off its west coast.
Seoul ordered the evacuation of residents from Yeonpyeong Island, some 10 km from North Korea, after Pyongyang fired around 200 artillery shells off its west coast, the South Korean Defense Ministry said on Friday.
“About 200 artillery shells were fired by North Korea (near) Yeonpyeong Island,” a South Korean Defense Ministry official said at a news conference. Officials on the island also told AFP that its residents had been ordered to evacuate.
“The North Korean military carried out more than 200 shots today between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. (12:00 p.m. and 02:00 GMT) in the Jangsan-got areas of northern Baengnyeong Island and in the north…of Yeonpyeong Island,” a Defense Ministry official said at a press conference.
Local authorities on Yeonpyeong Island told AFP that civilians had been ordered to evacuate as a “preventative measure”.
The South Korean island of Yeonpyeong is located in the Yellow Sea, about 80 km west of Incheon and 12 km south of the coast of North Korea's Hwanghae province.
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).
The two Koreas began a process of rapprochement in 2018, characterized by three meetings between Kim Jong Un and the South Korean president at the time, Moon Jae-in.
But relations between the two Koreas deteriorated to a low point this year after Pyongyang's launch of a spy satellite, which prompted Seoul to partially suspend a 2018 military deal aimed at to defuse tensions.
At the end of a meeting of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in late December, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the acceleration of military preparations for a “war” that could “be launched at any time.” moment” on the peninsula.
In 2023, North Korea conducted a record number of ballistic missile tests, in violation of numerous UN resolutions prohibiting it.
The country also engraved in its Constitution its status as a nuclear power, and successfully tested the Hwasong-18, the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in its arsenal, capable of reaching United States.