North Korea fires 100 artillery shells into waters near border with South

Officials in Seoul have confirmed about 90 test-firings of missiles, artillery and rockets by the North this year

North Korea has fired a bombardment of artillery shells into waters near its eastern border with the South – just one day after it launched two ballistic missiles into the sea, South Korea said.

North Korea regularly conducts test-firings, but this year has seen an unusually large number of launches; officials in Seoul have confirmed about 90 test-firings of missiles, artillery and rockets by the North since 21 February. More than 10 of them have been ballistic launches.

The test-firings are viewed as expressions of the country’s anger over its failure to win talks on receiving outside aid, and over on-going US-South Korean military drills.

On Monday, about 100 shells fired from land-based multiple rocket launch systems and coastal artillery guns landed north of the Koreas' maritime border. The shells flew about 3 to 50 kilometres (1.9 to 31 miles) - but the South didn't return fire because no shells fell in its waters, according to South Korean defence and military officials.

 

North Korea has pushed South Korea to accept a set of proposals that it said would reduce bilateral tensions, including the cancellation of regular military drills between Seoul and Washington that Pyongyang insists are preparation for an invasion.

Many in South Korea have doubts over how sincere the North is about its push to reduce tensions, and analysts see the pressure for better ties as intended in part to eventually win outside aid and investment.

Video: Jong-un seen at rocket firing drill

South Korea has rejected the North's proposals, saying it must first demonstrate that it is serious about nuclear disarmament if it truly wants peace.

The two Koreas are divided along the world's most heavily fortified border. The Korean Peninsula officially remains in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Additional reporting by agencies 

Read more: North Korea continues to defy UN ban
Kim Jong-un shown limping in unusual video footage
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