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North Korea: No Shells Fired

PYONGYANG, North Korea, Aug. 11 (UPI) — North Korea denied firing artillery into the waters near South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, saying the shelling sound was actually construction work blasts.

The South Korean Defense Ministry said Wednesday its military fired back after the North fired three shells into waters near the Northern Limit Line northeast of Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea.

Denying Seoul’s claim, the head of the North’s delegation to the north-south military talks told the official news agency KCNA normal explosions for construction work were set off at South Hwanghae province near “the five islands of the West Sea.” He accused the South Korean military of faking the charges as part of an anti-North Korean plot aimed at destroying the recent atmosphere for dialogue on the Korean Peninsula, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as telling KCNA.

The South Korean Defense Ministry had said its marines on Yeonpyeong Island, 75 miles west of Seoul, heard three artillery shots from a North Korean island across their disputed maritime border, and that one of shells was believed to have landed on the so-called Northern Limit Line, which North Korea does not recognize.

A South Korean official said the military responded by broadcasting a warning and then firing three artillery shells on the N.L.L.

Relations between the two Koreas have deteriorated since last year’s sinking of a South Koran warship that killed 46 sailors and that Seoul blamed on the North, and a similar shelling of the same island last November, which killed four people including two South Korean marines.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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