The two Koreas have traded a war of words over this week’s brief military exchange near the border.
In the North, state TV in Pyongyang called the South’s firing of warning shots “preposterous” and “a tragicomedy.”
It claims they were nothing more than blasts at a construction site.
A South Korean defence spokesman rejected that explanation. He said Seoul’s military equipment had judged that North Korean shells landed near the sea border.
The renewed border tension comes only weeks after talks described as “constructive” between the two Koreas’ nuclear envoys. There’s concern that progress is being jeopardised.
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, said:
“I’m seriously concerned about it and feel regretful about the fact that this kind of tension still exists between two countries. Incidents like the one that happened yesterday clearly show the situation in the Korean peninsula remains unstable.”
Seoul says its new hardline approach is working, after two fatal attacks blamed on North Korea last year. The South vowed to use air power and bombs in future after the military was accused of being weak.
But there are warnings of a possible major escalation if further North Korean provocation brings an over-reaction.