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South Korea orders evacuation on Yeonpyeong Island as North Korea fires over 200 artillery shells

Jan 05, 2024 12:48 PM IST

A Yeonpyeong Island official told Reuters that the evacuation order was issued after a request from the South Korean military.

North Korea launched over 200 artillery rounds into the sea near the heavily fortified maritime border with South Korea on Friday, leading to the evacuation order for residents of two South Korean islands due to an unspecified "situation".

Yonhap reported that the decision was taken amid provocation from North Korea. (AP/File)

The defense ministry did not confirm whether the evacuation was prompted by North Korea's artillery firing or South Korean drills.

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However, a text message sent to residents mentioned "naval fire" by South Korean troops starting at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT) on Friday.

The evacuation on Yeonpyeong Island, just south of the disputed Northern Limit Line (NLL), was made at the request of the South Korean military. The North's artillery fire caused no damage in the South, according to South Korea's military briefing. In addition to Yeonpyeong, residents of Baengnyeong Island, situated further west and close to the sea border, were also instructed to evacuate, as confirmed by a local village official.

On Friday morning, North Korea launched over 200 coastal artillery shells, as reported by South Korea's military. No damage was reported in South Korea, and the shells landed north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto sea boundary between the two Koreas.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff told AP that North Korea fired 200 rounds in the waters north of their disputed western sea boundary, violating a 2018 military agreement. South Korea called the North Korean drills a provocation, adding that no damage was incurred.

As reported by AFP, Seoul warned on Friday that it would respond with 'appropriate' measures to North Korea's shelling.

A Yeonpyeong village official told Reuters that the evacuation order was issued after a request from the South Korean military.

"About 200 shots were fired by North Korea (near) Yeonpyeong Island," stated a defence ministry official during a briefing. Local officials in Yeonpyeong informed AFP that civilians had been requested to evacuate.

Yonhap reported that the decision was taken amid provocation from North Korea.

Quoting an official, Yonhap stated, “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.”

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