North Korea opens fire at South
North and South Korea exchanged fire shots last night along the inter-Korean border, escalating tensions in an already hostile relationship during a time when the South is at a high security alert in preparation for the G20 Summit.
North Korean troops first fired two rounds at a South guard post over the border at 5:26 a.m. South Korean soldiers immediately responded with three shots, according to The Washington Post.
The shots were fired in the demilitarized zone, the Gangwon province northeast of Seoul and no one was reportedly injured. It is unclear whether the shots were accidental or a military action, though they came just hours after North Korea vowed to retaliate after the South rejected their proposal for military talks, reports the Post.
The incident comes at a sensitive time as South Korea's military has been on top security alert this week in preparation for November's G20 summit which will be attended by world leaders including President Barack Obama. Seoul, which will host the event from November 11-12, is closely monitoring North Korean movements, conducting military drills and is planning to deploy a record 50,000 officers to guard the summit, according to The Montreal Gazette.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated over the past six months after North Korea sunk Cheonan, a South Korean naval warship killing 46 sailors and refused to apologise for the incident. In August, the North fired 110 rounds of shots near the country's disputed border and earlier this month it seized a fishing vessel that belonged to the South.
However, the countries have also taken steps toward a friendlier relationship as well. Following a flood in the North in August and September, the South provided food aid shipments to help their northern counterparts cope with the aftermath.
More recently, the countries have been cooperating to organize reunions for families separated by the Korean War. Currently, more than 90,000 people have registered with the South in order to see their relatives in the North, according to The Wall Street Journal.