The Korean peninsula witnessed a surge in tension early this morning, 5th January 2024, as North Korea reportedly launched a series of artillery drills near the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas. Responding to this action, South Korean authorities activated their civil defense protocols and initiated precautionary evacuations in border communities.

While the exact number of artillery rounds fired and the specific locations targeted remain unclear. South Korean military officials confirmed the drills through radar detection and visual observation. The drills come amidst heightened concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, with Pyongyang having conducted a record number of weapons tests in 2023. Local emergency services have been placed on high alert and shelters have been opened in affected areas.

The South Korean government strongly condemned the drills on January 5, urging North Korea to immediately cease its provocative actions and resume dialogue. International allies, including the United States and Japan have expressed their concern and called for de-escalation. The situation on the Korean peninsula remains volatile and further developments are expected in the coming hours.