North Korea and South Korea exchange fire over border

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In an escalation of the tense situation in the region, North and South Korea exchanged fire over their heavily fortified border on Thursday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

South Korea detected a projectile, assumed to be a small rocket, that was fired toward the western
province of Gyeonggi, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said.

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The South Korean military responded by firing a few dozen shells at the area from which the North Korean projectile was fired, the official said.

Tensions have spiked on the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks after two South Korean soldiers
were seriously wounded by landmines in the demilitarized zone.

South Korea has accused the North of planting the mines, an allegation Pyongyang denies.

Seoul vowed a “harsh” response to the land mines and resumed blaring propaganda messages over
the border from huge sets of loudspeakers.

The move infuriated North Korea, which threatened over the weekend to blow up the South Korean speakers and also restarted its own propaganda broadcasts this week.

The two sides have exchanged fire in the past at sensitive points. In November 2010, North Korea
shelled an island near the countries disputed maritime border, killing two South Korean marines.
They also traded fire in October 2014. A clash took place between patrol boats in the Yellow Sea, and
then another flared days later over land after North Korean gunners apparently targeted balloons
carrying leaflets critical of the country’s reclusive regime.

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