Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Soldiers From 2 Koreas Exchange Fire - Associated Press

Soldiers from North Korea and South Korea exchanged fire along their border overnight, but no one was hurt, a South Korean military official said Tuesday.

The shooting happened shortly before sunset when North Korean soldiers fired two bullets toward a South Korean guard post in the eastern part of the Demilitarized Zone, said Maj. Kim Tae-hoon of the Joint Chiefs of Staff office.

South Korean soldiers immediately fired back six rounds, Kim said.

The motive for the initial shots from the North was unclear, and the communist country has made no comment about them, Kim said.

The U.N. Military Armistice Commission, which supervises the cease-fire that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, will ask the North for an explanation of the incident, Kim said. The war did not end with a peace treaty, meaning the two Koreas are still technically in a state of conflict.
The two sides occasionally exchange fire across their land border and at sea.

Last October, North Korean soldiers fired a tracer bullet toward South Korean soldiers along the eastern part of the border and South Korea fired back, according to the South Korean military.
Navies of the two Koreas fought deadly skirmishes off their west coast in 1999 and 2002.
The latest incident came amid tensions over the North's recent missile launches, which prompted the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution barring U.N. member states from missile-related dealings with the North.

The communist regime has been in a protracted standoff with the U.S. and other countries over its nuclear weapons program. It has boycotted six-way talks on its nuclear program because of U.S. financial sanctions over the North's alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.
North Korea agreed in September to abandon its nuclear program in return for security guarantees and aid, but no progress has been made to implement that accord.

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