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North Korea fires 200 artillery rounds near border, causing violation of 2018 military agreement, South reports

North Korea fired 200 artillery rounds near border, violating 2018 military agreement, escalating tensions. South Korea urges North to stop provocations.

North Korea has violated a 2018 military agreement by firing 200 artillery rounds near its sea boundary with South Korea, according to Seoul's defense ministry. The Joint Chiefs of Staff in South Korea stated that North Korea's actions pose a threat to peace and escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula. This recent artillery firing exercise marks the first of its kind in about a year, further increasing tensions between the two countries.

The 2018 agreement established no-fly and buffer zones along the border, with both Koreas agreeing to halt live-fire exercises and aerial surveillance. South Korea has called on North Korea to cease further provocations and has stated that it will respond to the artillery firing while closely coordinating with the United States.

Residents of South Korea's front-line island of Yeonpyeong have been asked to evacuate as the military plans to conduct maritime firing drills in response to North Korea's actions. The western sea boundary between the two countries has a history of naval clashes, with the most recent clash in 2010 resulting in the deaths of 46 South Korean sailors.

In addition to the recent artillery firing, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered authorities to increase the production of vehicles capable of launching missiles. He has also instructed officials to use every weapon at their disposal, including nuclear weapons, in the event of a potential armed conflict with South Korea and the United States.

These aggressive actions from North Korea come at a time when South Korea is preparing for parliamentary elections in April and the United States is gearing up for its presidential election in November. The situation remains tense as both countries closely monitor the actions of North Korea.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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