South Korean residents on a southern island were alarmed when North Korea’s military fired an artillery round into the sea on Saturday near a disputed maritime border in the region, the shell did not fly across the border, an official said.
The round, probably part of an exercise, was heard from the island of Baengnyeong and is assumed to have been fired in the northwestern direction from the North’s shore, a South Korean defence ministry said by phone, asking not to be named.
Korea, split in two, is in a tense political standoff after the North’s nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February.
North Korea is in grave violation of UN Security Council resolutions, according to the US, South Korea and Japan.
In fear of war, the allies are expected to begin large scale military drills in early March.
An operation of a jointly run factory park in the North was suspended by South Korea, closing the last window of regular interaction between the two countries, which was born out of a summit meeting when leaders pledged to work for peace and reconciliation.
A South Korean navy ship that sunk in 2010 is near the area, the South blames it on the North although Pyongyang denies any role.
The Baengnyeong island sits a few kilometres from the Northern Limit Line (NLL) border and is less than 20km to the North’s shore.