Tuesday, November 23, 2010

BBC: Artillery fire on Korean border

Artillery fire on Korean border

North Korea has fired artillery shells across its western maritime border, prompting return fire from South Korea, reports say.

Dozens of the shells landed on a South Korean island, witnesses say.

A television station said some houses on the island were on fire, and Yonhap news agency said that four South Korean soldiers had been hurt.

South Korea has issued its highest non-wartime alert in response to the incident, the defence ministry said.

Top leaders are meeting in an underground bunker in Seoul over the incident, Reuters news agency reported.

The incident comes days after North Korea revealed it had a modern uranium enrichment plant - potentially giving it a second route to a nuclear weapon.

Earlier, the US ruled out more denuclearisation talks while Pyongyang continued to work on the facility.

'Illegal firing'

South Korean officials said artillery rounds landed on Yeonpyeong island, near the disputed inter-Korean maritime border to the west of the Korean Peninsula.

"A North Korean artillery unit staged an illegal firing provocation at 1434 PM (0534 GMT) and South Korean troops fired back immediately in self-defence," a defence ministry spokesman told AFP.

To Read the Rest of the Report

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