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South Korea Fires Warning Shots at North Korean Drone as Tensions Grow

The South Korean government revealed Wednesday that it had fired 20 machine gun rounds at an unidentified drone widely believed to have come from North Korea that had entered South Korean territory. The incident follows international condemnation of a weapons test Pyongyang claims was the successful detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

South Korean military officials initially attempted to make contact with the drone and warn it not to cross into South Korean territory. The drone continued its trajectory, CNN notes, until South Korean soldiers fired the warning shots, after which the drone immediately turned around, flying back towards North Korea.

CNN quotes retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, as positing that the drone had been sent on an intelligence-seeking mission. “The second thing they were trying to do,” he added, “was probably provocation.” North Korea has previously sent rudimentary drones to the north/south border, or Demilitarized Zone, though they have yet to ever attack South Korean soldiers.
In addition to the suspected deployment of the drone, South Korean officials reported Wednesday that Pyongyang has begun a new propaganda offensive against Seoul, where leaflets with anti-South Korean and anti-American messages have been found. The leaflets, Yonhap reports, have been found in towns on the border very near the capital. “Careless barking would lead to merciless killing,” read one leaflet, while another encouraged, “Let us slay the mad villainess in the presidential Blue House for her attacks on a unitary people.”

Others were more profane. “Don’t get caught up with bitch Park Keun Hye’s anti-North Korea provocations that only bring calamitous results. Only miserable death awaits for those who slander their same people,” read one. North Korean official state media has repeatedly referred to the South Korean president as “bitch,” notably in the multi-part column series, “We Accuse Park the Bitch.”

South Korean officials have announced that they are preparing additional propaganda against the north. After having resumed audio broadcasts into the North condemning dictator Kim Jong-un and broadcasting Korean pop music, officials say they are preparing large electronic signs. “It takes some time to arrange them because the electronic bulletin boards that were used before were dismantled or old,” defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said, noting they have not been used since 2004.
South Korea is intensifying its call for the international community to sanction North Korea for its nuclear weapon detonation, as North Korea escalates its rhetoric. North Korea’s state media outlet threatened to destroy the United States “all at once” on Wednesday, claiming their nuclear scientists are “in high spirits” for war.

New sanctions, Park said Wednesday, must be “strong enough to change North Korea’s attitude.” “We will make every effort for the strongest sanctions against North Korea by taking new actions. China’s role is significant here,” she added, pressing China to “play its role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.” While China has previously blocked sanctions at the Security Council, it has issued stern condemnations of North Korea’s latest nuclear test. The Chinese government’s words appear to have reached Pyongyang, as evidence has surfaced that at least one high-ranking Chinese official has been “disappeared” from North Korean propaganda.

 

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