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Iran Press TV

North Korea fires shells near South Korea's warship: Seoul

Iran Press TV

Thu May 22, 2014 4:1PM GMT

South Korea says North Korea has fired shells near a warship that was patrolling south of the disputed Yellow Sea border, as tensions flare up on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean forces fired two shells near the South Korean ship that was engaged in a routine patrol mission near the frontline island of Yeonpyeong at 6:00 pm local time (0900 GMT) on Thursday, a South Korea Defense Ministry spokesman said.

He added that the South Korean ship was not hit.

'North Korea fired shells which fell near our ship, but it did not cause any damage to our ship,' the official noted.

The South Korean warship responded by firing several rounds into North Korean territorial waters, he said.

The incident comes as the North's military threatened on Wednesday to attack South Korean warships "without any warning" if there was a "trifle" violation of the maritime border.

A day earlier, a South Korean naval ship fired warning shots to stop an incursion by three North Korean patrol boats across the sea.

The two Koreas have on numerous occasions come close to a war in the past few years.

Tensions have been on the rise on the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks as Pyongyang accuses its southern neighbor and Washington of "rehearsing for an invasion." The two allies began their joint military exercises at the end of February despite Pyongyang's calls to call off such drills.

Pyongyang has recently conducted a series of rocket and ballistic missile launches and has also threatened to carry out a new nuclear test.

The North's official KCNA news agency reported on April 2 that the country's leader Kim Jong-un warned that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was "very grave" and vowed to "thoroughly crush" a US-engineered policy of hostility.

GMA/AB



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