- Title: VARIOUS: Two Koreas trade fire near their disputed sea border
- Date: 28th January 2010
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (JANUARY 27, 2010) (REUTERS) SOUTH KOREA'S UNIFICATION MINISTRY SPOKESMAN ENTERING BRIEFING ROOM JOURNALISTS SPOKESMAN ON PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) LEE JONG-JOO, SOUTH KOREA'S UNIFICATION MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, SAYING: "We have confirmed that North Korea declared a no-sail zone in the west sea waters from January 25th to March 29th. The government is keeping an eye on the North Korean army's movement, their intention and our future response to it." MORE OF BRIEFING
- Reuters ID: LVA7TOMQL6RMC3W5ZSF8HLNZ7AJ3
- Duration: 00:00:35
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- Topics: International Relations
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- Story Text: North and South Korea exchange artillery fire near their disputed sea border, the second time in three months the rivals have clashed.
North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near their disputed sea border on Wednesday (January 27), the second time in three months the rivals have clashed.
Analysts doubted the latest clash would escalate and saw it more as an attempt by Pyongyang to stress the instability on the Korean peninsula and press home its demand for a peace deal that would open the way to international aid for its ruined economy.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North fired artillery shots from land towards the South. But the shells landed on the north side of the disputed sea border off the west coast.
South Korea returned fire from its coastal artillery.
The presidential Blue House said both sides fired into the air and there were no casualties, according to Yonhap, adding it had called a meeting of top national security officials.
On Tuesday (January 26), North Korea declared a two-month no-sail zone in the Yellow Sea waters, a sign it might be preparing to test fire missiles.
"We have confirmed that North Korea declared a no-sail zone in the west sea waters from January 25th to March 29th. The government is keeping an eye on the North Korean army's movement, their intention and our future response to it," said Lee Jong-joo, South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesperson, on Wednesday.
The area is near a contested sea border between the rival Koreas that was the site of a brief naval clash in November as well as deadly confrontations in previous years between the states which are technically still at war.
North Korean state media made no comment on the incident.
China's state television CCTV reported the incident as headline news in its Wednesday morning bulletins, quoting a report from South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.
"The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said North Korea fired several artillery shells into the northern part of the Northern Limit Line this morning. Yonhap News Agency reported that the South Korean military responded with fire, the Joint Chiefs of staff in Seoul have not confirmed whether Seoul fired back and North Korea has not yet issued a statement. North Korea previously declared the disputed waters around Baekryeong Island as a "no sail" zone from January 25 to March 29," CCTV anchor Jin Qiang said.
Earlier this week, North Korea accused the South of declaring war by saying it would launch a pre-emptive strike if it had clear signs the North was preparing a nuclear attack.
The latest clash also comes amid signals from Pyongyang it was ready to return to the six-country talks -- between the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States -- on ending its atomic arms programme, after boycotting the talks for a year.
In return for resuming disarmament negotiations, North Korea has demanded talks on a peace treaty with the United States to finally end the 1950-53 Korean War and the lifting of U.N. sanctions over its two nuclear tests.
Analysts say tightened sanctions since last year have badly hit the failing economy, especially its main export -- weapons.
There have also been overtures for dialogue with Seoul after two years of increasingly tense ties with the government of President Lee Myung-bak who has linked improved relations to action by the North to disarm and end the security risk affecting the peninsula and the rest of prosperous North Asia.
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