North, South Korea exchange gunfire near border, “No casualties”
According to Yonhap News, North and South Korea exchanged gunfire on October 19 near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju.
An official from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs Staff stated, “At 8:10 a.m. today, approximately 10 North Korean soldiers approached the MDL inside the DMZ in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. In accordance with our response protocol, numerous warnings were broadcasted to the North. At 5:40 p.m. the broadcasts were followed by warning shots at the North Korean soldiers near the MDL in Paju.”
The official continued, “The North retaliated immediately to our warning shots. Two bullets presumed to be fired by the North were found at our GP (Guard Post), prompting our side to respond with additional shots. The shootout lasted for 10 minutes until 5:50 p.m and has stopped at present.”
“There are no casualties on our side. In case of an emergency, tourists and residents in the northern regions of the civilian access control line in Paju were evacuated at 5:00 p.m. For now there are no alarming movements from the North, but the South Korean army is keeping a close surveillance of their movements to fully prepare for a state of emergency. North Korean casualties cannot be confirmed, but judging from the withdrawal of the soldiers (who had approached the MDL), no external harm seems to be done.”
Just the previous day, North Korean soldiers approached the MDL inside the DMZ in Cheorwon County, Gangwon Province between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., instigating the South to relay warning broadcasts and shots. A gunfire exchange was avoided when the North retreated without responding to the South’s warning shots.
This is the latest shootout to occur between North and South Korea at a DMZ guard post in 9 days. On October 10, North Korean soldiers fired at anti-North balloons launched by a South Korean civilian activist group. The South responded when several bullets from the North’s 14.5 mm anti-aircraft rounds landed on South Korean soil.
A source from Yonhap News stated, “The North Korean army is pulling provocative stunts near the MDL to test the South’s attitude towards response and confrontation.”
Reporting by Lee Hyangrim.
Read in Korean.
Translated by Haeryun Kang.
Featured image: Visit Korea Committee