North Korea fired several artillery rounds into the sea near a disputed maritime border with South Korea on Saturday, causing alarm among residents on a nearby island in the South, but the shells did not fly across the border, the South’s military said.
The two Koreas are in a tense political standoff after the North’s nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch on Feb. 7. South Korea and the United States say they were grave violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The allies are expected to begin large-scale annual military drills in early March, which the North calls preparations for war and routinely vows retaliation over.
Saturday’s firing, heard from the island of Baengnyeong, was probably aimed in a northwestern direction from the North’s shore as part of an exercise, a South Korean defense ministry official said by telephone, asking not to be named.