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South Korea begins first artillery drills in 6 years amid North Korea's trash attacks

South Korea begins first artillery drills in 6 years amid North Korea's trash attacks Photo: Artillery exercises resumed in South Korea (illustrative photo GettyImages)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

After a 6-year hiatus, South Korea resumed military artillery exercises with live fire near the inter-Korean demarcation line. The reason for this was regular trash attacks from North Korea, according to the Korea Times.

The move comes nearly a month after South Korea suspended the 2018 inter-Korean military agreement in its entirety on June 4 due to North Korea's rocket-propelled grenade campaign and attempts to disrupt GPS signals near border islands.

Since the end of May 2024, North Korea has launched more than 2,000 garbage balloons across the border in response to anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent by North Korean defectors and activists in the South.

Thus, the suspension allowed South Korea to resume training to strengthen its frontline defenses.

"Previously, artillery and naval drills, as well as regiment-level field maneuvers, were banned due to land and maritime buffer zones set up in the area. No-fly zones had also been designated near the border to prevent accidental aircraft clashes," the statement says.

"Troops fired some 140 rounds using the K9 and K105A1 self-propelled howitzers during the drills at front-line ranges in the provinces of Gyeonggi and Gangwon, located within 5 kilometers of the Military Demarcation Line within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas," South Korea's military says.

"The Army will regularly conduct artillery drills and training of maneuvering units in border areas going forward," the statement says.

North Korea's trash attacks

North Korea systematically launches garbage balloons that were filled with manure and household waste into the territory of South Korea. Parasites were recently discovered in one of these.

Earlier, on June 3, North Korea announced its intention to stop sending balloons with garbage across the border to its neighbor to the south. At the same time, Pyongyang promised to resume this practice in case postcards are again sent from the air from South Korea, which has happened.