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The South Korean military said on Sunday it had detected the trajectories of what appeared to be shots fired by North Korea, possibly from multiple rocket launchers (MLRs).

South Korea’s joint chief of staff announced that the gunshots were detected after 6pm and that the military strengthened surveillance and alert levels, without mentioning further responses.

North Korea frequently tests MLRs during military exercises, and has also developed larger versions of such rockets in recent years. Smaller rockets and missiles are considered central to North Korea’s plans to hit targets in South Korea in the event of a conflict.

North Korea tested a range of missiles this year, from its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to its smaller MLRs. All are banned by UN Security Council resolutions that imposed sanctions on North Korea’s missile development.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, speaks during a cabinet meeting at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. On Tuesday, South Korea offered high-level talks with its rival. North Korea to find ways to collaborate in next month’s Winter Olympics in the south.
((Kim Ju-hyoung / Yonhap via AP))

South Korea is pursuing a $ 2.6 billion artillery interception system, similar to Israel’s “Iron Dome,” designed to protect from North Korea’s long-range gun and rocket arsenal.

This photo distributed by the North Korean government shows what is said to be a test fire from a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at a secret location in North Korea on March 24, 2022. Independent reporters have not been given access to the coverage of the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government.  The content of this image is as supplied and cannot be independently verified.  The Korean language watermark on the image provided by the source reads: "KCNA" which is short for Korean Central News Agency.

This photo distributed by the North Korean government shows what is said to be a test fire from a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at a secret location in North Korea on March 24, 2022. Independent reporters have not been given access to the coverage of the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as supplied and cannot be independently verified. The Korean language watermark on the image provided by the source reads: “KCNA” which is short for Korean Central News Agency.
(Korean Central News Agency / Korean News Service via AP, file))

Much of the area surrounding Seoul, the capital, is home to about half of the population of 52 million and is within range of North Korea’s long-range guns and multiple rocket launchers.

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The South Korean Army K1A2 tank moves during a military exercise in Paju, South Korea near the border with North Korea on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.

The South Korean Army K1A2 tank moves during a military exercise in Paju, South Korea near the border with North Korea on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
((AP Photo / Ahn Young-joon))

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The United States stationed about 28,500 troops in South Korea, where they train alongside South Korean troops to counter the North. The Allies conducted their own missile exercises in response to some of North Korea’s previous launches.

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