Yesterday we reported that South Korea had ordered an evacuation near its western border after an ‘exchange of fire’ with North Korea.
Things have now escalated, and North Korea has declared its frontline troops are in a ‘quasi-state of war’. Kim Jong-un has ordered his troops to be on a ‘war footing’, and to be ready for military operations at any time from 5pm Friday local time – this morning to us in the UK.
It’s not the first time the North has made threats like this. This time they have threatened action unless the South ends its anti-Pyongyang broadcasts from loudspeakers at the border.
But the BBC’s South Korea correspondent, Steve Evans, said the ritual aggression, which often sees the firing of ammunition, is a lot fiercer this time round, and artillery shells are now in use.
The two Koreas reached an agreement in 2004 to stop the use of propaganda loudspeakers at the border. The broadcasts were part of a campaign of psychological warfare, to deliver news to people across each border.
South Korea started broadcasting again on the August 10, apparently in reaction to two of their soldiers being injured by a mine, for which they held the North responsible.
North Korea also resumed broadcasting, although the quality of their speakers are so bad you can’t understand what they’re saying, according to reports.
Kim Jong-un has reportedly rejected an apology from the South for the provocation of its artillery fire yesterday.
We’ll keep you updated with any new developments on the situation.