South Korea Conducts First Land-Based Firing Drills in Border Area in Six Years

South Korea has resumed land-based firing exercises near the North Korean border for the first time in six years, following the suspension of a military agreement from 2018

by Sededin Dedovic
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South Korea Conducts First Land-Based Firing Drills in Border Area in Six Years
© Chung Sung-Jun / getty Images


South Korea began live-fire exercises at artillery ranges near the border with North Korea today, for the first time in six years, following the suspension of the inter-Korean military agreement that limited such exercises.

Troops fired about 140 rounds using K9 and K105A1 self-propelled howitzers during exercises in the Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces, located five kilometers from the military demarcation line within the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas, the South Korean military reported, as per Yonhap.

"The firing exercises, the first to be conducted on land after the government fully suspended the Military Agreement of September 19, 2018, focus on strengthening artillery readiness and response capabilities in the event of enemy provocations," the military stated.

The statement also mentioned that the South Korean military will continue to regularly conduct artillery exercises and maneuver unit training in border areas. This move came almost a month after South Korea completely suspended the 2018 inter-Korean military agreement, following North Korea's campaign of sending trash-laden balloons across the border and attempts to disrupt GPS signals near border islands, the South Korean agency reported.

Since the end of May, North Korea has launched more than 2,000 trash balloons across the border, claiming it as a response to the propaganda campaign of North Korean defectors and South Korean activists who regularly send balloons with food, medicine, money, and leaflets criticizing leaders in Pyongyang.

North Korea criticized the joint military exercise of South Korea, Japan, and the United States held this month, stating that such exercises show that the relationship between the three countries has developed into an "Asian version of NATO," state media reported, according to Reuters.

On Thursday, the three countries began large-scale joint maneuvers involving naval destroyers, fighter jets, and the nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, aiming to strengthen defense against missile, submarine, and air attacks.

The exercise was devised at the Camp David trilateral summit last year to strengthen military cooperation amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula stemming from North Korea's weapons tests.

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