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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


News Agency: Two Koreas Exchange Artillery Fire Along Western Sea Border

VOA News 26 January 2010

South Korea's Yonhap news agency says North and South Korea have exchanged artillery fire along their disputed western sea border.

Yonhap says the North fired several rounds of land-based artillery off its west coast early Wednesday, two days after it designated so-called "no-sail" zones along the sea border. The news agency says that South Korea's military returned fire.

There was no immediate confirmation from officials in Seoul.

South Korean media quoted military officials on Tuesday as saying the designated "no-sail" zones are near a contested sea border where a brief naval clash took place between the two countries in November. That confrontation left a North Korean vessel in flames.

Referring to the "no-sail" zones Tuesday, a U.S. State Department spokesman urged both Koreas to show restraint.

North Korea is reported to have set the "no-sail" zones to last until March 29.

In the past, Pyongyang has often declared "no-sail" zones before carrying out missile tests or military drills.

Yonhap reports that prior to the declaration, the North accused the South Korean navy of conducting underwater explosions close to its waters, calling the alleged actions "provocation." South Korea dismissed the claim, saying the explosions were part of a routine drill.

The two Koreas are still technically at war because the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, rather than a peace treaty.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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