South Korea on Wednesday fired warning shots after an unidentified object from North Korea was seen flying close to the rivals’ border, the South’s military said. Media reported that it was a drone. The incident comes amid a deepening standoff between the Koreas in the wake of the North’s purported fourth nuclear test one week ago.
The North Korean object turned around after the South fired the shots, the South’s Joint Chief of Staff said in a statement. It did not say whether the South Koreans hit the object. Yonhap news agency reported that the South fired 20 rounds from machine guns at a drone.
North Korean drone flights across the border are rare but do occasionally happen across the world’s most heavily armed border.
Seoul also said that North Korea had flown leaflets across the border describing her and her government as “mad dogs” as the Cold War-style propaganda warfare continued between the rivals.
Diplomats at a U.N. Security Council emergency session last week pledged to swiftly pursue new sanctions. Currently, South Korea, the United States, and others are pushing hard to impose those sanctions and other punitive measures for what Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb test.
There is widespread skepticism over the H-bomb claim, but whatever the North detonated underground will likely push the country closer toward a fully functional nuclear arsenal, which it still is not thought to possess.
South Korea’s president earlier Wednesday urged North Korea’s only major ally, China, to respond to Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test with the strongest possible international sanctions. For current sanctions and any new penalties to work, better cooperation and stronger implementation from China, the North’s diplomatic and economic protector and a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, is seen as key.
On Wednesday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in a nationally broadcast news conference that her country will push as hard as it can for strong sanctions that can force change in North Korea. But, she emphasized, Chinese help is crucial.