North fires more shells into Yellow Sea for 2nd dayNorth Korea fired dozens of coastal artillery shells around 8:10 a.m. yesterday in the waters north of the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea near Yeonpyeong Island on the peninsula’s west coast, said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The shells landed in the North’s own waters north of the NLL, the de facto inter-Korean maritime border.
Yesterday’s action took place following similar rounds of shooting on Wednesday in two areas that the North designated “no-sail” zones near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea. It was the first time the North fired shells near the NLL.
The North had not declared areas near Yeonpyeong as no-sail zones.
“We have received reports from military bases in Yeonpyeong Island that they heard firing,” said Colonel Park Sung-woo, spokesman for the JCS.
“Reportedly, the North shot into its own territory,” he added. “We still cannot confirm exactly where the shells were fired and the type of shells. We are closely monitoring the situation.”
The South neither fired warning shots nor sent warning messages, Park said.
A day earlier, South Korean marines on Baengnyeong Island fired around 100 bullets as warning shots in the air toward the North soon after the North’s first firing at 9:05 a.m.
Yeonpyeong, located about 80 kilometers (49 miles) west of the northernmost end of South Korea’s mainland and 12 kilometers from the North, experienced two naval skirmishes between the two Koreas in 1999 and 2002.
Despite the North’s recent military actions, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said yesterday it would proceed with scheduled working-level discussions between the two Koreas concerning the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
The complex is a joint business park in the North where many firms from the South have operations. The talks are scheduled for next Monday.
“We sent the list [of our representatives] to our counterparts in the North via the complex’s management committee in the morning,” said a senior official at the South’s Unification Ministry on condition of anonymity. “Three senior members of the South’s delegation, including Kim Young-tak [the senior ministry official charge of inter-Korean talks], are going to participate in the talks along with 14 additional members.”
In addition, Seoul is planning to confirm with the North today the ground route that the South’s delegation will take.
On Wednesday, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said that inter-Korean working-level talks associated with the complex would go forward. Hyun added that Seoul will make it a priority to secure stability on the peninsula.
Meanwhile, in the 24th round of the Security Policy Initiative held in the South’s Defense Ministry, military officials from South Korea and the United States exchanged ideas related to the recent North military actions and agreed to maintain a cooperative position to deal with any further provocations.
The two Koreas technically remain at war since a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, ended the 1950-1953 Korean War.
By Lee Min-yong [email@example.com]
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