Korea DMZ Shooting


SEOUL, South Korea Aug 6, 2007 (AP)

North and South Korean soldiers briefly exchanged gunfire along their border Monday, the office of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

North Korean soldiers fired several shots toward a South Korean guard post in the eastern part of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula. South Korean soldiers immediately returned fire, a statement said.
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No South Korean soldiers were hurt. It was unclear if anyone was hurt on the northern side and comment there was not immediately available.

The U.N. Military Armistice Commission, which supervises the agreement that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, said in a statement it would investigate.

The conflict ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, meaning that the two Koreas are still technically at war. North Korea's testing of a nuclear weapon last year raised tension in the region, but six-party disarmament talks that include the United States, Russia, China, Japan and the two Koreas are ongoing

The shooting comes a day ahead of working-level talks to agree on the details of an aid-for-disarmanent deal with Pyongyang in the truce village of Panmunjom that separates the two Koreas.

North Korea has already received 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil from Seoul in return for the shutdown of its sole operating nuclear reactor and accepting inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The energy-starved North is to eventually get further economic incentives equivalent to 950,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in return for irreversibly disabling the reactor and ending all nuclear programs, but has yet to set a deadline.

Such incidents occur every few years. In July 2006 soldiers from the two Koreas exchanged fire along the heavily fortified border. Their Navies fought deadly skirmishes off their west coast in 1999 and 2002.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

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