Inter-Korean tensions escalate – 2015.08.21

North Korea has ordered its troops to prepare for “surprise attacks”. South Korea has limited access for their own citizens to the joint south-north korean economic zone. AP-Image / Ahn Young-joon

Pyongyang / Seoul – Tensions between the two koreas have escalated following an attack by at least one rocket from the North. Some sources say that there wa also artillery fire that came from the northern side of the heavilly armed DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), which divides the Korean peninsula at 38° latitude. South Korea responded to the attack with artillery fire towards the north. There was no response to the fire from North Korea.

However, North Korea set an ultimatum for the South to stop their propaganda broadcasts along the border. The loudspeakers were inactive for the past eleven years, and were reactivated only shortly before the exchange of fire on Thursday. The ultimatum is to be fulfilled by South Korea by 5pm local time on Saturday – if the South fails to fulfill this, Pyongyang continued, they would have to expect military strikes.

South Korea set its military to high readiness already on Thursday, North Korea followed by putting their military, as they state it, in “a war-like state”. What this exactly means, was not mentioned.

According to TV Arirang, North Korea could use their nuclear weapons. Further, according to Sputnik News YTN said that there are 11 Targets selected in South Korea.

South Korea’s Defense Minister Han Min Koo warns north korea explicitly not to provocate. North Korea will “pay a bitter price” for any provocations.

North Korea has also issued the “state of war” for the first time since two years. Then, an escalation of the conflict was prevented.

Japan has called on North Korea to hold themselves back, and China urges both koreas to come to resolve the conflict peacefully and through dialogue.