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North Korea's live fire tests South's determination to defend sea border

Published on Mar 31, 2014 4:27 PM
 
Amphibious assault vehicles of the South Korean Marine Corps throw smoke bombs as they move to land on shore during a U.S.-South Korea joint landing operation drill in Pohang March 31, 2014. The two Koreas traded hundreds of rounds of live artillery fire across their disputed maritime border Monday, March 31, 2014, forcing South Korean islanders to take shelter a day after the North drove up tensions by threatening a new nuclear test. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - The two Koreas traded hundreds of rounds of live artillery fire across their disputed maritime border Monday, forcing South Korean islanders to take shelter a day after the North drove up tensions by threatening a new nuclear test.

The exchange, triggered by a three-hour North Korean live-fire exercise that dropped shells into South Korean waters, was limited to untargeted shelling into the sea, military officials said.

South Korea's defence ministry said the North fired some 500 shells during the drill, around 100 of which landed on the south side of the sea boundary.

Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok said the South had responded to Pyongyang's "premeditated provocation" by firing 300 shells from K-9 self-propelled howitzer batteries based on its front-line islands. The South returned fire, he said, calling the North's action "a test of the South's determination to defend the naval border".

 
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