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ROK, DPRK trade fire across demarcation line

Updated: 2014-10-11 07:42
By Xinhua in Seoul and Pyongyang (China Daily)

The Republic of Korea and Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Friday traded machine-gun fire in an area near the military demarcation line.

DPRK forces fired a 14.5-mm machine gun, which can penetrate armored vehicles, for 20 minutes starting at 3:55 pm near the western civilian-control area in Yeoncheon County in ROK's Gyeonggi Province.

In response, the ROK military fired 40 rounds from a 12.7-mm K-6 machine gun from 5:40 pm after a warning broadcast at 5:30 pm. No damage was reported by the ROK side.

The shooting started after a ROK civic organization floated anti-DPRK leaflets with balloons into the DPRK at about 2 pm from the western region.

The DPRK fired into the air over the ROK side at 5:50 pm, launching live ammunition toward the balloons.

Some bullets fell in the civilian area in Yeoncheon. People in the county were evacuated to a nearby shelter.

It was the first time in four years that the DPRK had fired shots into ROK territory. In 2010, the DPRK shelled Yeonpyeong Island near the western maritime border, killing two civilians and two marines.

The DPRK warned on Thursday that it "will not stand by and remain onlookers", describing the leaflet dispersion as "psychological warfare against the DPRK" and "an intentional and premeditated provocation".

Pyongyang repeatedly called for a halt to the spread of the leaflets, accusing Seoul of supporting the leaflets' distribution.

The ROK has denied the DPRK's allegations.

The ROK civic organization reportedly sent about 200,000 leaflets via 10 large balloons.

The trading of gunfire is expected to cast a cloud over thawing relations between the two countries.

Pyongyang on Friday also slammed recent DPRK-related remarks by ROK President Park Geun-hye, asking her not to chill inter-Korean relations.

Park asked the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to offer support in urging the DPRK to abandon nuclear weapons when she met with ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh on Wednesday. She also said the DPRK has adopted a "double standard of provocation and appeasement".

The official KCNA news agency cited the spokesman for the DPRK National Reconciliation Council as calling her comments "an unpardonable, politically motivated provocation against the DPRK and indecorum chilling the hard-won atmosphere of improving the north-south relations".

On Oct 4, during the visit of three high-ranking DPRK officials to ROK's Incheon, the DPRK and ROK agreed to hold a second round of senior-level dialogues between late October and early November.

 

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