North and South Korea exchanged fire over their heavily fortified border Thursday, sparking fresh tensions in the region and prompting concern from Washington.
South Korean military fired dozens of artillery rounds after the North shelled across the border to protest against anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts by Seoul, Reuters reported.
It was the first exchange of fire between the two sides in 10 months, according to the report.
North Korea is said to have warned Seoul in a letter that it will take military action if the South did not stop the loudspeaker broadcasts along the border within 48 hours.
A South Korean military official was quoted as saying that the broadcasts will continue.
Seoul began blasting anti-North Korean propaganda from loudspeakers on the border on Aug.10, resuming a tactic that both sides had halted in 2004.
South Korea said the North had fired one anti-aircraft shell followed by multiple shells from a direct fire weapon on Thursday.
In response, the South fired dozens of artillery rounds and raised its alert status to the highest level.
Both countries said there were no casualties or damage in their territory.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye has told defense officials to “react firmly” to North Korean provocations, the report said.
The United States, which has about 28,500 military personnel in South Korea, said it is concerned and that is closely monitoring the situation.
“Such provocative actions heighten tensions, and we call on Pyongyang to refrain from actions and rhetoric that threaten regional peace and security,” a State Department spokesperson said.
– Contact us at [email protected]