Pyongyang designates new ‘naval firing zones’

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Pyongyang designates new ‘naval firing zones’

North Korea has again designated two areas in the waters off the maritime border in the Yellow Sea as “naval firing zones,” which has raised speculation that the North may fire more artillery shells into the area, the South Korean Defense Ministry said yesterday.

The report came at the ministry’s briefing of Grand National Party members at the National Assembly in Seoul. The administration was meeting with the ruling party member on matters related to the North’s recent military movements.

The ministry said that the new firing zones - east of Baengnyeong and Daecheong islands - would be effective for four days starting Friday.

“There are possibilities that the communist country may conduct further military provocations with its artillery in waters off the Northern Limit Line [NLL] in line with the North’s redesignation of new zones,” said a defense official who asked not to be identified.

The North had declared five-day maritime firing zones near Baengnyeong beginning Jan. 25. The areas were also designated by the North as “no-sail” zones from Jan. 25 until March 29.

The North fired coastal artillery shells and multilaunch rockets into the sea near the NLL over three days beginning on Wednesday of last week.

Later, the North designated four additional no-sail zones off the west coast and one off the east coast effective for three days starting last Sunday.

By Lee Min-yong []

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