By Heekyong Yang and Joori Roh
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea fired another 100 artillery shells off its west coast on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, just hours after launching hundreds of shells into the sea off from her east and west coasts in what she called a grave warning to the South. Korea.
North Korea has carried out weapons tests at an unprecedented rate this year, firing a short-range ballistic missile and hundreds of artillery rounds near the heavily armed inter-Korean border on Friday.
On Monday, South Korean troops kicked off their annual Hoguk defense drills designed to boost their ability to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
Pyongyang has reacted angrily to South Korean and joint military activities, calling them provocations and threatening countermeasures. Seoul says its drills are regular and defense-oriented.
North Korea fired the last shots around 12:30 p.m. (0330 GMT), South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, urging Pyongyang to end acts threatening peace and security in the region.
In Washington, a US State Department spokesman said, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name: “We are aware of this information. We call on the DPRK to cease all provocative actions and threatening”.
Earlier, a spokesperson for the North Korean People’s Army (KPA) General Staff said the latest decision was in response to South Korea firing more than 10 rocket launcher shells multiples near the front line between 8:27 a.m. and 9:40 a.m.
“Our army strongly warns the enemy forces to immediately stop the very irritating act of provocation in the frontline areas,” the KPA official said.
Wednesday’s firefight comes shortly after the North fired around 100 shells into the sea off its west coast and fired another 150 shells off its east coast on Tuesday night.
North Korea later said the firing was intended to send a “serious warning” and a “powerful military countermeasure” to South Korea.
(Reporting by Heekyong Yang, Joori Roh and Soo-hyang Choi in Seoul; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Stephen Coates, Lincoln Feast, Alexandra Hudson)