South Korea fires warning shots after North Korean drone spotted

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- South Korea on Wednesday fired 20 machine-gun warning shots after a North Korean drone briefly crossed the rivals' border, officials said, the first shots fired in a Cold War-style standoff between the Koreas in the wake of the North's nuclear test last week.

See Full Article

The North Korean drone was flying dozens of metres south of the border and turned back to the North after the South fired the shots, South Korean defence and military officials said, requesting anonymity because of office rules. The shots did not hit the drone.

North Korean drone flights across the world's most heavily armed border are rare, but have happened before.

North Korea has in recent years touted its drone program, a relatively new addition to its arsenal. In 2013, state media said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had watched a drone attack drill on a simulated South Korean target.

In 2014, Seoul officials discovered what they called several North Korean drones that had flown across the border. Those drones were crude and decidedly low-tech, but were still considered a potential new security threat.

Animosity has been high since the North's claim on Jan. 6 that it tested a hydrogen bomb. 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 have. The North previously conducted atomic bomb tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

Since Friday, South Korea has been blasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda and K-pop songs from huge speakers along the border. The North, which calls the broadcasts an act of war meant to threaten its system of government, is using speakers of its own in an attempt to keep its soldiers from hearing the South Korean messages.

Seoul said Wednesday that thousands of North Korean leaflets, likely sent across the border by balloons, have been found in the South. Some described South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her government as "mad dogs."

North Korea's propaganda machine is using the nuclear test to glorify Kim's leadership and describing it as a necessary step to fight against what it calls a U.S.-led attempt to overthrow the North's system.

North Korean state TV on Wednesday broadcast photos showing a smiling Kim awarding commendations to scientists and other workers involved in the test and shaking hands with them at a Workers' Party building. Kim called the scientists and workers "nuclear combatants" and "the heroes of heroes" who caused fear in the United States and its allies, according to the state news agency.

Park on Wednesday urged North Korea's only major ally, China, to help punish Pyongyang for its nuclear test with what she called "the strongest" possible international sanctions that could force change in the North.

Diplomats at a U.N. Security Council emergency session last week pledged to swiftly pursue new sanctions. For current sanctions and any new penalties to work, better co-operation and stronger implementation from China, the North's diplomatic and economic protector and a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, are seen as key.

"Holding the hands of someone in a difficult situation is the mark of the best partner," Park said at a news conference, referring to China and South Korea's need to punish the North. "I trust that China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, will play a necessary role."

Beijing has recently shown signs that it is losing patience with North Korea over its repeated provocations. But China is still seen as reluctant to clamp down on the North in part because of fears that a toppled government in Pyongyang would see millions of desperate North Koreans flooding across the border with China and a U.S.-backed South Korean government in control of the Korean Peninsula.

Responding to the North's test, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has urged China to end "business as usual" with North Korea. But in a telephone conversation with his South Korean counterpart last Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made it clear that Beijing supports dialogue to resolve the nuclear standoff. His reported remarks sparked speculation in Seoul that China has no intention of joining in any harsh punishment of the North.

Top nuclear envoys from South Korea, the United States and Japan met in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss sanctions against the North.

"I hope the Chinese authorities agree with us, that we simply cannot take the business-as-usual approach to this latest provocation. We will be working very closely with them to come up with a meaningful resolution," U.S. representative Sung Kim told reporters.

On Thursday, South Korea's nuclear envoy is to fly to Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart, according to Seoul's Foreign Ministry.

Park said Wednesday that South Korea will continue its loudspeaker campaign, calling it "the surest and most effective psychological warfare tool."

She said past broadcasts helped front-line North Korean soldiers learn the truth about Pyongyang's authoritarian rule and defect to South Korea. "The most powerful threat to totalitarianism is the power of truth," she said.

The North Korean leaflets found Wednesday included messages such as "Let's knock down the Park Geun-hye group like we do mad dogs," and "The U.S. must immediately stop its anachronistic hostile policy on North Korea."

Similar North Korean propaganda leaflets were discovered on a South Korean border island between late 2013 and early 2014. Still, such leafleting by the North is rare, though South Korean activists occasionally send anti-Pyongyang leaflets in balloons across the border.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Canadian doctor on highs and lows of migrant rescue work

    World News CTV News
    Dr. Sarah Giles has been home in Canada for two weeks, but her heart is still aboard the migrant rescue ship MV Aquarius, where she spent the past four months in the Mediterranean Sea as part of her ongoing work with Doctors Without Borders. Source
  • Zika outbreak: Florida lifts infection zone in Miami Beach

    World News CBC News
    Florida's governor says South Beach is no longer an active infection zone for the Zika virus. Gov. Rick Scott was joined by tourism officials Friday to make the announcement. The first cases of Zika transmission through mosquito bites on the U.S. Source
  • Family of slain doctor express gratitude for outpouring of support

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - The family of a doctor found strangled and beaten to death is expressing gratitude for an outpouring of support. In a statement today, the relatives of Dr. Elana Fric say they are especially grateful for the support shown for her three young children. Source
  • Spain: 400 migrants storm North African border

    World News CTV News
    MADRID -- More than 400 migrants from Africa stormed across a border fence to enter Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta from Morocco on Friday in one of the biggest crossing attempts of recent years. Source
  • Blasts kill 30 in northeast Nigeria; Boko Haram blamed

    World News CBC News
    ?Two women suicide bombers blew themselves up at a bustling market in northeast Nigeria's Madagali town on Friday morning, killing at least 30 people and wounding 67, an army spokesman told The Associated Press. The attack comes as Nigeria's government claims it is routing the Boko Haram Islamic extremists blamed for the blasts. Source
  • Former TFC star Dwayne De Rosario says team is 'ready to battle' for MLS Cup

    Canada News CBC News
    Dwayne De Rosario felt the glory of lifting the MLS Cup four times during his soccer career, but never with Toronto FC. He's retired from professional soccer now, but De Rosario is still a TFC ambassador. Source
  • Mercy killings as deer struggle to cross N.B. river covered in thin ice

    Canada News CTV News
    A large number of deer are dying while trying to cross a New Brunswick river covered in thin ice. The deer are attempting to get to a deer yard where they spend most of their winter, but many aren’t surviving the Northwest Miramichi River crossing. Source
  • Clemency bid for Canadian on death row in Montana awaits action from governor

    World News CBC News
    Montana's governor is being asked to act on a petition to spare the life of a Canadian who's been on death row in the United States for over three decades. Ronald Smith, who is originally from Red Deer, Alta. Source
  • Mother of infant struck in stroller urges driver to turn himself in

    Canada News CTV News
    An Eastern Ontario mother who was out walking when a vehicle hit her infant daughter’s stroller, wants the driver to turn himself in to authorities. The incident happened in Kemptville, Ont., near Ottawa on Tuesday. Source
  • Officer slayings 'wreaked havoc' on rural Georgia community

    World News Toronto Sun
    A man wanted for killing a Georgia police officer and wounding another was found dead Thursday, apparently fatally shooting himself before a SWAT team stormed a home where a tipster reported the suspect was hiding. The manhunt for 32-year-old Minquell Lembrick ended a day after a gunman killed Americus police Officer Nicholas Smarr and critically wounded Officer Jody Smith of Georgia Southwestern State University. Source