Seoul, January 5: South Korea's military said North Korea fired some 200 artillery shells into waters off its western coast on Friday morning, Yonhap News Agency reported. After North Korea's move, an emergency evacuation order for civilians on the South Korea's border islands of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong was issued. Furthermore, the South Korean military conducted live-fire artillery drills.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the artillery firings from Jangsan Cape, north of South Korea's Baengnyeong, and Deungsan Cape, north of South Korea's Yeonpyeong, from 9 am to 11 am (local time). The shells crossed into the maritime buffer zone north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto maritime border. The buffer zone was set under an inter-Korean military accord signed on September 19, 2018, in order to reduce border tensions, according to Yonhap News Agency report. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Orders Increased Production of Mobile Launch Vehicles for Missiles As Tensions Grow With US

The JCS said there was no damage reported to South Korean citizens and the military. The South Korean military called the North Korea's move a "provocative" act and warned of its corresponding measures. JCS spokesperson Colonel Lee Sung-jun said, "We gravely warn that the entire responsibility of such crisis-escalating situations lies with North Korea and strongly call for its immediate halt." "Under close coordination between South Korea and the United States, our military is tracking and monitoring related activity, and will conduct corresponding measures to North Korea's provocations," JCS spokesperson added.

In November last year, North Korea unilaterally scrapped the accord after Seoul partially suspended the deal in protest of Pyongyang's successful launch of a military spy satellite, the report said. According to local county office, the emergency evacuation order was given at 12:02 pm (local time) and again at 12:30 pm (local time) on Friday at the request of the South Korean military.

According to Yonhap News report, an official said, "We announced the evacuation after receiving a call from a military unit saying it was carrying out a maritime strike on Yeongpyeong Island as it has a situation with a North Korean provocation." During the year-end ruling party meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un defined inter-Korean ties as relations "between two states hostile to each other" and called for stepped-up preparations to "suppress the whole territory of South Korea." South Korea's Opposition Leader Lee Jae-Myung Stabbed in Neck During Visit to Busan, Attacker Arrested (Watch Video)

Amid apparent signs of a military provocation by North Korea, South Korea has ordered civilians on the western border island of Yeonpyeong Island to evacuate to shelters, according to officials. Earlier in December, it was reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is planning to launch three additional spy satellites next year, Yonhap news agency reported, citing Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The announcement comes after the successful launch of the country's first military reconnaissance satellite in November.

Kim Jong-un set forth the goal as he wrapped up five days of the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea on Saturday, as reported by KCNA. "Based on the experience of successfully launching and operating the first spy satellite in 2023 in the space development sector, the task of launching three more spy satellites in 2024 was unveiled and all-out measures to spur the development of space science technology were discussed," the report said.

Recently, North Korea successfully put a military spy satellite, Malligyong-1, into orbit on November 21 after two failed attempts in May and August.

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