October 19, 2014 / 11:49 AM / in 3 years

North and South Korea exchange gunfire at border in latest clash

SEOUL (Reuters) - North and South Korea exchanged gunfire on Sunday when the North’s soldiers approached the military border and did not retreat after the South fired warning shots, the South Korean Defence Ministry said.

A North Korean flag is seen on top of a tower near the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating North Korea from South Korea, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul, September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

The North’s soldiers fired back in an exchange of gunfire that lasted about 10 minutes but the situation did not escalate, a ministry official said.

“There were no casualties or property damage,” the official said.

The incident was the latest in a series of confrontations in recent weeks between the rival Koreas, that remain technically at war, and follows an urgent meeting between senior military officials on Wednesday to discuss how to ease tensions.

The North’s soldiers on Saturday approached the so-called Military Demarcation Line that separates the countries but retreated after the South fired warning shots, the official added.

Earlier this month, the two sides exchanged fire after a North Korean patrol boat crossed a sea border that the North has long disputed in an area where naval clashes have in the past killed scores of sailors on both sides. They also traded machinegun fire after southern activists released anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border by balloon on Oct. 10.

The two Koreas are expected to hold a high-level meeting soon and the recent actions by the heavily militarized North are seen by experts as posturing to seek advantage in often intricate dealings with the wealthy South.

Reporting by Ju-min Park and Jack Kim; editing by Keiron Henderson

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