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    N. Korea fires more shells toward S. Korea amid tensions

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    North Korea has fired several artillery shells toward a South Korean island in the Yellow Sea following a recent exchange of fire near the disputed maritime border, the Yonhap news agency said Thursday.

    North Korea has fired several artillery shells toward a South Korean island in the Yellow Sea following a recent exchange of fire near the disputed maritime border, the Yonhap news agency said Thursday.

    Yeonpyeong Island is located about 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) west of South Korea's mainland, but only 12 km (7.5 miles) from North Korea's coast.

    "The shells fell in the waters north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), de facto inter-Korean maritime border," Yonhap said citing South Korean officials.

    North and South Korea previously exchanged artillery fire in the Yellow Sea on Wednesday, a day after Pyongyang declared the border area a "no-sail" zone from January 25 until March 29.

    The North Korean People's Army General Staff later confirmed the report, saying it was part of an "annual" drill.

    The exchange of fire was carried out by land-based artillery on both sides and reportedly caused neither casualties nor damage. No naval vessels were involved.

    South Korea described the North's firing as a "grave provocation" that undermined the truce between the two sides and urged the communist neighbor to cancel its Tuesday's declaration of a "no-sail" zone around the inter-Korean sea border.

    The border was unilaterally drawn by the U.S.-led United Nations Command in the wake of the 1950-1953 Korean War and has been a sticking point between the North and the South.

    Pyongyang has not acknowledged the borderline and has drawn a new one on its own south of the current border. Naval clashes between the two states over the disputed area took place in 1999, 2002 and last year.

    The two countries remain technically at war as their conflict ended only in an armistice in 1953.

    MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti)

     

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