North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un ordered the armed forces on Friday, Aug. 21, to be on high alert for war following the escalating tension on the border with South Korea after the two countries exchanged artillery fire.
South Korea’s army spewed dozens of artillery fire across the border after the North Korean military fired a loudspeaker that carried anti-Pyongyang propaganda in a border town.
The exchange of artillery fire on Thursday, Aug. 20, was the first in the last 10 months. Kim consequently ordered his military ready to fight.
“The Korean People’s Army (KPA) entered into a wartime state all at once, fully armed to launch surprise operations,” the North Korean news agency KCNA said. KCNA said the decision was taken in an emergency meeting of the Central Military Commission chaired by Kim on Thursday night.
North Korea had previously given 48 hours to the South through a special military line phone in order to remove the loudspeaker that voiced anti-Pyongyang messages. However, South Korea’s defense ministry played down the treat, saying the anti-Pyongyang broadcast remained to be done.
Following the abandonment, North Korea later released one artillery fire. The shot was across the border on Thursday at around 4 p.m. local time. The North’s military released more shots in the direction of the speaker a few minutes later.
However, North Korean artillery shells fell in the demilitarized area of South Korea. As a result, South Korea retaliated by firing dozens of 155-mm artillery shells that were also directed to the demilitarized area of North Korea.
As a precautionary measure, the townspeople of Yeoncheon, located about 40 miles north of Seoul, were evacuated to the protected areas around the county.
Gunfire exchange in the ground between the two Koreas is usually very rare because both parties are aware of the risk and the magnitude potential of the destruction that must be faced.
Written by Riyan Septa