Korean border conflict

This item appears on page 62 of the October 2015 issue.

North and South Korea exchanged fire across the western part of the demilitarized zone on Aug. 20. 

The salvo began after a rocket fired from North Korea toward the South Korean town of Yeoncheon landed in an uninhabited area. The South Korean military responded by firing dozens of artillery shells toward the suspected origin of the rocket. There were no casualties reported by either nation, but at least 80 South Korean civilians were evacuated, with hundreds of others told to take shelter.

On Aug. 20, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared that his country was in a “semi-state of war” due to the border unrest.

Tensions between North and South Korea, which are technically still at war, increased in August after South Korea blamed North Korea for placing a land mine that injured two South Korean soldiers on Aug. 4. North Korea has also expressed concern for joint military exercises between South Korea and the US that began on Aug. 17. Both nations renewed broadcasts of propaganda from loudspeakers along the border.

On Aug. 24, after days of high-level talks, the two nations agreed to end hostilities, with North Korea “expressing regret” over the land mine incident and South Korea stopping all loudspeaker broadcasts. However, on Sept. 2, North Korea said it never “expressed regret” for the land mine and warned that it may retaliate against South Korea if they continue to report that it had.