North, South Korea exchange fire across disputed western sea border, Seoul says

by
March 31, 2014

South Korean Marines fired artillery shells across a disputed sea border Monday after North Korean shells from a live fire drill conducted by Pyongyang fell into the water south of the frontier, Seoul officials told the Associated Press.

There were no reports of any injuries. Residents on front-line South Korean islands spent several hours in shelters during the firing, and officials temporarily halted ferry service linking the islands to the mainland. Kang Myeong-sung, speaking from a shelter on Yeonpyeong island, which is in sight of North Korean territory, said he didn’t hear any fighter jets but heard the boom of artillery fire.

North Korea fired 500 rounds of artillery shells over more than three hours, about 100 of which fell south of the sea boundary, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said later Monday. South Korea responded by firing 300 shells into North Korean waters, he said.

No shells from either side were fired at any land or military installations, but Kim called the North’s artillery firing a provocation aimed at testing Seoul’s security posture. There was no immediate comment from North Korea.

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