s. korea dmz.
(photo credit: AP)
South Korean troops fired warning shots Saturday after five North Korean soldiers crossed into the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two countries, South Korean military officials said.
The incursion along the world's most heavily armed border came amid spiraling tensions over North Korea's recent threat to test its first atomic bomb.
It was unclear whether the North Korean advance, which lasted about 80 minutes, was intended as a provocation, an official at South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on condition of anonymity, citing official policy.
He noted that in May, a similar incident occurred at the same location as two North Korean soldiers tried to catch fish in a nearby stream.
The incident may not be related to the current nuclear standoff with Pyongyang, he added.
The five North Korean soldiers advanced about 30 meters (30 yards) past the Military Demarcation Line separating and stayed in the area despite a South Korean broadcast warning them to retreat to their own side.
South Korean troops then opened fire with about 40 warning shots, forcing the North Koreans to pull back, the official said. The North Korean soldiers didn't return fire, and there were no injuries, said the official.
The South's military noticed no other unusual troop movements on the North's side.
South Korea's 650,000 troops face the communist North's 1.1-million-strong military, the world's fifth largest, across the so-called Demilitarized Zone that has separated the two neighbors since the Korea War ended in 1953.