SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired artillery barrages onto a South Korean island near their disputed border Tuesday, setting buildings alight and prompting South Korea to return fire and scramble fighter jets. At least one South Korean marine was killed and 13 wounded, the military said.
An official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea’s military had sent a message to South Korea’s armed forces early Tuesday to demand that the drills stop, but the South continued them. One South Korean marine was killed, three were seriously wounded and 10 slightly wounded, a Joint Chiefs of Staff official said. Island residents were escaping to about 20 shelters in the island and sporadic shelling was continuing, the JCS said.
South Korea responded by firing K-9 155mm self-propelled howitzer, but the JCS official declined to say whether North Korean territory was hit. Tensions between the two Koreas have remained high since the sinking in March of a South Korean warship in which 46 sailors died. Seoul blamed a North Korean torpedo, while Pyongyang has denied any responsibility. North and South Korea have fought three bloody skirmishes near the maritime border in recent years, most recently in November 2009. That battle left one North Korean officer dead and three others wounded, according to South Korean officials.