The naval patrols of North and South Korea exchanged fire in disputed waters on Tuesday morning.
“Our high-speed patrol boat repelled the North Korean patrol boat,” the South Korean Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “We are fully prepared for further provocations from the North Korean military.”
South Korea has not reported any casualties while Yonhap news agency said that the North Korean boat was damaged and retreated to North Korea after the incident. South Korea has also alleged that the incident was a result of provocation by the North Korean Navy.
The South Koreans first issued warning broadcasts, according to the military, and when these were ignored, they fired warning shots.
“It was then that the North Korean patrol boat attacked our high-speed patrol boat,” the statement said. “Our ship returned the fire.”
North Korea has not issued any comment till now.
The firing occurred when a North Korean patrol boat reportedly sailed across the northern limit line, which is a sea border drawn by the United Nations at the end of the Korean War in 1953 which has never been accepted by North Korea.
The navies of the two nations have fought deadly skirmishes along the western sea border in 1999 and 2002 also. The clash in 2002 had left six South Korean soldiers dead and others wounded.
President Obama is shortly scheduled to leave on a tour of Asia which includes a stop in Seoul and a meeting with the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak next week.
AP meanwhile reported no signs of tension along the land border.
Meanwhile, there were no signs of tension along the heavily fortified land border separating the two Koreas. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that were no unusual troop movements on the North Korean side of the land border.
At Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, an Associated Press photographer said the situation there was normal. A group of Chinese tourists was visiting on the North Korean side.