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North and South Korea exchange fire at border

North Korean troops fired two machine-gun bursts at a South Korean guard post across their heavily militarised border on Friday night, and soldiers from the South returned fire with three rifle shots, a Defence Ministry official said in Seoul.

world Updated: Oct 30, 2010 00:02 IST
Mark McDonald

North Korean troops fired two machine-gun bursts at a South Korean guard post across their heavily militarised border on Friday night, and soldiers from the South returned fire with three rifle shots, a Defence Ministry official said in Seoul.

The official, Kiyheon Kwon, said the fire from the North was unprovoked, and that a United Nations investigation team was being sent to the scene. The exchange took place in Hwacheon, a mountainous area about 70 miles northeast of Seoul.

South Korean troops along the border were placed on the highest state of alert, Kwon said, adding that “nothing more happened” after the initial volleys.

Defence officials said they had no immediate explanation for the North Korean fire, which they said was the first such incident since August, 2007.

Tensions have been strained between the two Koreas since the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, which the South has blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack. The North has denied involvement in the sinking, which killed 46 sailors. nyt