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Two Koreas exchange fire: DPRK accuses ROK of firing first; 2 marines killed

[ 2010-11-24 13:03]     字号 [] [] []  
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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday exchanged artillery fire with the Republic of Korea (ROK), after the DPRK shelled an island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two ROK marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter.

The DPRK accused the ROK of firing first in one of the most serious clashes since the Korean War ended in 1953.

"Despite our repeated warnings, South Korea fired dozens of shells from 1 pm ... and we've taken strong military action immediately," its official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a brief statement.

The supreme military command in Pyongyang threatened more strikes if the ROK crossed their maritime border by "even 0.001 millimeter", according to the KCNA.

The ROK returned fire, and scrambled fighter jets to the area. The military said it was conducting regular military drills off the west coast before the DPRK started firing dozens of shells. But Seoul said its firing exercises were not aimed at the DPRK. It is not clear whether there had been any military drills near the island that could have triggered the incident. "We were conducting usual military drills and our test shots were aimed toward the west, not the north," an ROK military official said.

ROK President Lee Myung-bak, who has pursued a hard line with the DPRK since taking office nearly three years ago, said a response had to be firm following the attack on Yeonpyeong island, 120 km west of Seoul. The United Nations Security Council could hold an emergency meeting in the next day or two over the increasing tension, a French diplomatic source told reporters on Tuesday.

The exchange was a sharp escalation of skirmishes that flare up periodically along the disputed border, and it comes amid renewed tension over the DPRK's claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility.

The two Koreas are still technically at war - the Korean War (1950-1953) ended only with a truce. Tensions rose sharply in March after Seoul accused Pyongyang of torpedoing one of its navy vessels, killing 46 sailors, an accusation that was strongly denied by Pyongyang.


1. How many marines died?

2. This is the most serious clash since the war ended in what year?

3. How many miles west of Seoul was the attack?


1. 2.

2. 1953.

3. 120 km.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Two Koreas exchange fire: DPRK accuses ROK of firing first; 2 marines killed

About the broadcaster:

Two Koreas exchange fire: DPRK accuses ROK of firing first; 2 marines killed

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.