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North and South Korea exchange warning shots along disputed maritime border

Released: 6:59 p.m. EDT, Oct. 23, 2022 | Updated: 7:12 p.m. EDT, Oct. 23, 2022

North and South Korea say they have exchanged warning shots along their disputed western sea border.

The South Korean military says its navy fired warning shots to repel a North Korean merchant ship it claims violated the maritime border.

The North Korean military said it fired ten rounds of artillery shells as a warning to South Korea.

There were no reports of clashes between the Koreas.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s recent spate of missile tests, which in turn prompted US and South Korean warplanes to conduct bombing exercises.

Earlier this month, in a highly provocative move fueling simmering tensions in the eastern Pacific, North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan for the first time since 2017 – prompting evacuation warnings in Japan.

North and South Korea fired warning shots after a merchant ship from the north reportedly breached the western sea border by entering southern waters

North and South Korea fired warning shots after a merchant ship from the north reportedly breached the western sea border by entering southern waters

North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile over Japan earlier this month, prompting Tokyo to encourage residents to evacuate (pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un).

North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile over Japan earlier this month, prompting Tokyo to encourage residents to evacuate (pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un).

The South Korean military says its navy fired warning shots to repel a North Korean merchant ship it claims violated the maritime border (pictured: South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol)

The South Korean military says its navy fired warning shots to repel a North Korean merchant ship it claims violated the maritime border (pictured: South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol)

Within hours, America and South Korea struck back with their own show of might and skill in the region.

“Involving four South Korean Air Force F-15Ks and four US Air Force F-16s, the South Korean F-15K fired two joint direct attack ammunition (JDAM) bombs at a virtual target at the Jikdo firing range in the western Sea,” Seoul’s joint said Chiefs of Staff, referring to the Yellow Sea.

The drills were aimed at “demonstrating the Allies’ ability to deliver a precision strike at the source of provocations,” they added.

North Korea’s missile was launched around 7:20 a.m. from its Mupyong-ri test site near the border with China, and passed over Japan’s Tohoku region about five minutes later. Warning sirens sounded and civilians were told to take cover.

South Korean and U.S. warplanes take part in a joint bombing exercise in this handout picture provided by South Korea's Ministry of Defense on Oct. 4, 2022

South Korean and U.S. warplanes take part in a joint bombing exercise in this handout picture provided by South Korea’s Ministry of Defense on Oct. 4, 2022

In this photo provided by the South Korean Ministry of Defense, the South Korean Air Force's F15K fighter jet fires two JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs at an island target in South Korea on Tuesday, October 4, 2022

In this photo provided by the South Korean Ministry of Defense, the South Korean Air Force’s F15K fighter jet fires two JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs at an island target in South Korea on Tuesday, October 4, 2022

North Korea earlier this month tested a ballistic missile that flew over Japan's Tohoku region and 1,800 miles into the Pacific before falling

North Korea earlier this month tested a ballistic missile that flew over Japan’s Tohoku region and 1,800 miles into the Pacific before falling

The missile flew over the mainland and further 1,800 miles off the east coast of Japan before touching down in the Pacific at around 7.45am – making it North Korea’s longest-ranged missile test to date. There was no property damage and nobody was injured.

Nonetheless, the test is a clear provocation, likely in response to joint US, South Korean and Japanese naval exercises last week, which North Korean despot Kim Jong Un sees as a rehearsal for an invasion.

It also comes from a quick-fire series of North Korean missile tests – now five in 10 days – and comes amid US warnings that the country is preparing for another nuclear test as Pyongyang ramps up tests to build a full nuclear arsenal.

The missiles threaten US allies and the American homeland with the goal of wringing concessions from outside, some experts say. The nuclear-capable weapon could reach the US territory of Guam and possibly beyond.

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