Singapore on Wednesday condemned North Korea for its "reckless and provocative" act of firing artillery shells on South Korea, warning this has "dangerously" raised tensions on the peninsula.
"We are gravely concerned about this development. The exchange of artillery fire was undoubtedly initiated by the DPRK," the foreign ministry said, using North Korea's formal name.
"This was a reckless and provocative action that dangerously heightened tensions in what was an already highly fraught and uncertain situation. It deserves our strongest condemnation." Singapore said it was hopeful "there will be no further escalation that could result in the destabilisation of the Korean Peninsula and the wider region".
It urged both Koreas to "exercise utmost restraint", adding that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula was important to East Asia.
South Korea's defence ministry said the North had fired about 170 shells into the South Korean territory on Tuesday, including 80 that struck Yeonpyeong island and burnt down 19 homes.
South Korean troops, based permanently on the frontline island near the disputed sea border, responded with 80 shells from self-propelled guns, it said.
The North Korean bombardment killed two South Korean marines and wounded 15 others plus three civilians in one of the worst incidents since the Korean war.