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North, South Korea Exchange Fire Into Sea As Tensions Rise

Both North Korea and South Korea fired into each other's disputed waters, a flexing of military muscle that's resulted in deaths in the past.
Posted at 9:59 AM, Mar 31, 2014

In a flexing of muscles that has resulted in deaths in the past, both North and South Korea fired on each other Monday. The warning shots involved hundreds of missiles fired into the sea.

ANCHOR: "North and South Korea exchange fire across their maritime border during these military exercises between the South and the U.S. this weekend. There were no reports that anybody was hurt." (Via News 12)

ANCHOR: "The South was responding to firing from the north, and the North Koreans say they were responding to the annual springtime military exercises done every year by Seoul and Washington." (Via WABC)

A South Korean defense ministry statement said the North fired 500 shells into the sea, 100 of them landing in South Korean waters. The South then responded with about 300 of its own shells.

CNN notes spring military drills annually anger the North Koreans and provide some of the tensest moments of the year.

While the Northern Limit Line drawn up by the United Nations is supposed to mark the border in the Yellow Sea between North and South Korean waters, the North has never recognized it. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

Many islands like Baengnyeong, where the BBC reports residents were evacuated into shelters, are much closer to the North Korean shore than the South and considered vulnerable. (Via Google Earth)

It's been almost four years to the day since a South Korean warship sank in the disputed waters, killing 46 sailors.

A South Korean-led international investigation blamed the attack on a torpedo from a North Korean sub, though the North denied that and its main ally China dismissed the report as not credible. (Via RT)

The BBC reports South Korea also scrambled fighter bombers "...with the unspoken warning that they could strike North Korean artillery units should any shells land on an island."

CNN notes the North's pushback against military drills by the South and the U.S. is one of the few ways it can force international respect.

ANDREW SALMON, CNN: ​"To the international community, they have to show their relevance. They're a decrepit nation. They've got no real economic power, no real political or diplomatic power. The only power — the only relevance — they have is as a military force."

While North Korea would not rule out responding with a nuclear arms test, China called for calm and restraint and South Korea's Unification Ministry said there was no evidence a nuclear test was imminent.