February 22, 2024

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Tensions rise between North and South Korea – DW – 01/05/2024

Tensions rise between North and South Korea – DW – 01/05/2024

situation in between South Korea And its northern neighbor remains tense in 2024. Friday morning, from 9:00 to 11:00 local time, North Korea fired more than 200 artillery shells Near two islands off the west coast of the Korean peninsula. According to the South Korean General Staff, the projectiles fell into the sea north of the maritime boundary between the two countries.

There were no casualties on Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong islands. Yeonpyeong residents were asked to go to shelters. It is not yet clear if that is related to the shooting. North Korea. According to the AP agency, the residents said the move was related to the ongoing military maneuvers in the South Korean waters since Friday.

Lee Chung Joon, a spokesman for South Korea's general staff, told Reuters that Seoul sees responsibility for “escalating this crisis only in North Korea.” The spokesman said it was a provocative act that threatened peace on the Korean Peninsula. “We strongly urge you [a Corea del Norte] These activities should be stopped immediately.

Where did the projectiles land?

North Korea's bombs fell near the small islands of Yeonpyeong and Bangnyeong, but not on land. The islands are located near the North Korean mainland, but belong to South Korea. The cannon fell north of the Northern Limit Line (LLN), a disputed de facto boundary drawn by the United Nations at the end of the Korean War in 1953. The NLL runs three nautical miles off the North Korean coast, which it doesn't. , an extension of the line demarcating the demilitarized zone between the two countries, as suggested by North Korea.

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In 2010, North Korea attacked Yeonpyeong, killing four people. The island is almost eight square kilometers and has about 2,100 inhabitants. In December 2022, North Korea fired missiles into the sea surrounding the LLN. The military accord between the two countries, agreed in 2018, is to ensure peace in the buffer zone. But after North Korea launched a spy satellite in November 2023 — another provocation — South Korea partially suspended the deal. In response, North Korea announced that it would abandon all de-escalation measures and deploy new military equipment along the border.

Kim Jong Un is the leader of North Korea.Picture: KCNA/REUTERS

What is North Korea's military capability?

North Korea's secrecy does not permit reliable data. But the Bonn International Center for Conflict Studies (BICC) conducted research for its Global Militarization Index 2022 and made an assessment based on its results. Due to unclear facts, North Korea is not included in the official index. But researchers estimate that North Korea will be the most militarized country in the world by 2022. According to the BICC, North Korea ranks first in the world in terms of military and personnel spending. In the field of heavy weapons, it ranked second behind Israel.

According to the BICC, the equipment of the Army, Air Force and Navy has become obsolete. Despite this, North Korea has a disproportionately large military presence for a country. In 2020, there were nearly 50 members of the armed forces per 1,000 citizens. The total population is 26 million people and the army has a huge number of over a million soldiers. Many of the tanks, aircraft and artillery systems in the North Korean military's arsenal are of Soviet or Chinese manufacture. North Korea has ballistic missiles with a range of 13,000 kilometers. Also, by the end of 2022, it was estimated that the country would have enough material for up to 50 nuclear weapons.

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Where are North Korea's weapons still used?

Pyongyang's missiles aren't just landing at South Korea's gates. Russia is also estimated to be using North Korean weapons in the Ukraine conflict. Several North Korean missiles were used in Russia's attack on Ukraine this week, the US National Security Council said on Thursday (01/04/2024). According to US reports, Pyongyang recently delivered ballistic missile launchers and multiple ballistic missiles to Moscow.

“It's absolutely clear that China, North Korea and Iran are supporting Russia,” retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told DW: “Fortunately, at this early stage of the review, the North Korean weapons appear to be of low quality. .”