North Korea has threatened war with their neighboring South Korea before, but tensions are skyrocketing to almost unprecedented levels. According to CNN, the latest conflict began when two South Korean soldiers were wounded while on patrol in the demilitarized zone separating the two countries. South Korean officials believe that North Koreans are responsible for planting landmines along a patrol route that injured the soldiers on August 4, but the North has denied responsibility.
South Korea responded to the incident by continuing cross-border propaganda blasted by loudspeakers; the South had not enacted this strategy for more than a decade. Last weekend, North Korea stated that the propaganda was a declaration of war, and steps would be taken against the South if they did not turn off the broadcasts. Despite the non-aggression treaty between the two nations, North Korea fired artillery shells over the DMZ on Thursday. The South responded by firing back shells of their own.
On Friday, Kim Jong-un commanded troops to move to a war footing along the border, resulting in ratcheting tensions between the two countries. North Korea is also upset about planned joint military exercises with the U.S. and the South. Officials believe that North Korea was targeting a loudspeaker when they fired rounds into the South on Thursday. The exchange of fire between the North and South did not end with any reported casualties. The nations previously exchanged artillery fire back in 2010, and an exchange of machine gun fire occurred last October. The UN and the U.S. are monitoring the situation closely.