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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

All quiet on Russian-N. Korean border - borderguards

RIA Novosti

04:54 24/11/2010

VLADIVOSTOK, November 24 (RIA Novosti) - A recent military skirmish between South and North Koreas has not affected the situation on the Russian - North Korean border, a spokesperson for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Wednesday.

"The situation on the border between Russia and North Korea remains tranquil and stable," Lt. Col. Natalya Rondaleva said. "Russian borderguards are monitoring the border in a routine format and there is no reason to put them on high alert."

North Korea opened artillery fire on the South's Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea at 14:34 local time (05:34 GMT) on Tuesday, killing at least two South Korean marines. Sixteen others were injured, along with 3 civilians. The South immediately fired back.

Later, North Korea blamed the South for starting the attack.

The South Korean military has been put on its highest non-war alert and President Lee Myung-bak said on Tuesday that the North should be punished "through action" to prevent further provocation.

Western powers have condemned the attack but warned against further escalation. Russia has called on both Koreas to refrain from use of force.

The attack is the second incident in the tense Yellow Sea border area this year. In March, a North Korean submarine was alleged to have torpedoed a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, causing the loss of 46 lives. An international investigation said the North was to blame, but the reclusive regime denied involvement.

North and South Korea remain technically at war, since no peace treaty was signed following the Korean War in 1953. The Demilitarized Zone between the countries is the most heavily armed border in the world.

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