North Korea has reportedly fired shots at South Korea, according to state-run South Korean media, KBS. The shelling, which happened at 4pm local time, is believed to be aimed at loudspeakers on the South Korean side of the border that have been airing anti-Pyongyang propaganda. South Korea fired shots back at the north. “Our side staged a counter-attack with dozens of 155mm shells,” a ministry spokesman told AFP.
Tensions between the two Koreas, still technically at war after agreeing to an armistice and not a peace treaty in the 1950s, have been higher than normal recently. Seoul accused North Korea of planting a land mine that killed two South Korean soldiers earlier this month. In response to the land mine incident, South Korea took up a tactic last used over a decade ago, and began blaring anti-North Korea broadcasts over the border. (The speakers have also been used to blast K-pop into the country.) The area between North and South Korea is one of the most militarized borders in the world.
The two countries have traded shots over propaganda before—in October last year, North Korean military fired anti-aircraft guns at balloons released into the country by South Korean protesters. Observers worry that under the leadership of North Korea’s young and increasingly unpredictable leader Kim Jong-un, incidents like this can easily escalate.