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Residents of South Korean islands, seek shelter amid exchange of rocket fire

North Korea launches missiles and artillery towards South Korea
North Korea launches missiles and artillery towards South Korea
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

North Korea fired artillery rounds into South Korean waters on Monday, prompting an immediate retaliation from South Korea. South Korea's Defense Minister Kwon Ki-hyeon announced during a news conference today that, “all shells from both sides landed in the sea.”

North Korea fired 500 rounds of artillery and rockets of which, 100 rounds landed in South Korean waters. In response, South Korea fired over 300 shots, the defense minister said.

Residents of the nearby South Korean islands of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong were evacuated to bomb shelters during the exchange of fire, no casualties were reported. Yeonpyeong island residents are no strangers to the conflict between these two nations.In 2010 North Korea fired rocket into Yeonpyeong island, killing two soldiers and civilians.

North Korea notified South Korea on Monday, that it would be conducting a live firing drill off the west coast and declared a no-fly, no sail zone in the Yellow Sea. They also warned, they may be conducting a “ new form of nuclear test”

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se warned, “North Korea will face serious consequences if it carries out another nuclear test.”

This has been a heated conflict between the two Korea's for decades, because of the disputed maritime boarders off the western coast. Like his predecessors, Kim Jong Un, does not recognize the boarder drawn up by the United Nations after the Korean War.

Recently tensions began rising after the U.S. and South Korea started a scheduled joint naval/maritime exercise last week. North Korea calls the drills, “ a rehearsal for invasion” In response they have been firing mid and long range ballistic missiles off their east coast.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is scheduled to tour the area on Tuesday.

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