North and South Korean vessels fire 'warning shots' at each other


North and South Korean ships exchanged warning shots after a North Korean patrol boat crossed a disputed maritime border, say officials from the south.

The incident happened around 03:00am on Tuesday near the border island of Yeonpyeong, said South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

A South Korea military spokesman said in a statement that they had sent "warning messages and fired a warning shot".

He said the North had fired back, resulting in another exchange of fire, before the North's ship retreated.

No injuries or damage were reported.

The incident comes only three days after North Korean officials agreed to resume high-level talks with the South.

The two countries technically remain at war, after the Korean War ended in an armistice.

However, maritime skirmishes in the area are not infrequent - a similar one, with shots fired in a naval clash, happened two weeks ago.

Sailors from both Koreans have died in clashes over the years.

However, observers say the latest incident, while unlikely to derail the planned talks, underlines the dangerous nature of the relations in the heavily armed Korean peninsula.

Image: AFP