S. Korea: 2 Koreas exchange gunfire along border
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean and South Korean troops exchanged fire Sunday along their heavily fortified border in the second such shooting in less than 10 days, South Korean officials said.
South Korean soldiers broadcast warnings and fired warning shots at about 10 North Korean soldiers who were approaching the military demarcation line inside the Demilitarized Zone that bisects the Korean Peninsula, according to a statement from South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Two shots believed to have been fired by North Korean soldiers were found at a South Korean guard post, and South Korean soldiers fired toward the North, the statement said.
South Korean defense officials said the North Korean soldiers returned to the North after the shooting lasted for about 10 minutes. There were no reports of casualties.
On Oct. 10, the two Koreas also traded gunfire along the border after South Korean activists floated balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets toward the North. There were no reports of casualties from that incident either.
North Korea has repeatedly demanded South Korea ban activists from sending leaflets, which often urges North Korean citizens to rise up against leader Kim Jong Un. South Korea has refused, saying activists are exercising freedom of speech.
North Korea has warned it would take unspecified stronger measures if leafleting continues. South Korean activists said they won't yield to the North's threats and vowed to float more leaflets across the border. One activists' group said it will send about 50,000 leaflets on Oct. 25.
The latest fire exchanges serve as a reminder of long-running tensions between the Koreas despite earlier hopes of easing animosities after a group of top North Korean officials made a rare e visit to South Korea early this month and agreed to resume senior-level talks.
Only days after the North Koreans' visit, navy ships of the two Koreas also traded gunfire near their disputed western sea border, the scene of several bloody maritime skirmishes in recent years. Military generals from the sides met at a border village last week in their first military talks in more than three years to discuss how to ease tensions, but the meeting ended with no agreement including when to meet again.
The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to help deter potential aggression from North Korea.