|The South Korean military's radar system detected North Korea firing a shell at a military unit|
NORTH KOREA has fired a missile at a South Korean border town in the latest escalation in border tensions between the two warring nations.
Nearby towns in the South Korean demilitarised zone were evacuated after Kim Jong Un’s military fired an artillery round at a loudspeaker that was blaring anti-Pyongyang broadcasts.
The South Korean military's radar system detected North Korea firing a shell at a front-line military unit in Yeoncheon, northwest of Seoul.
In response, South Korea fired back dozens of 155mm shells at the point where the North Korean rocket was fired from.
South Korea's defence ministry said in a statement: “Our military has stepped up monitoring and is closely watching North Korean military movements.”
North Korea has demanded that the South stop its propaganda broadcasts within 48 hours, in a sign of ratcheting tensions between the two countries, who remain in a state of war.
Top South Korean economic and financial policymakers will meet tomorrow to discuss the impact on the economy and the stock markets from the exchange of fire with North Korea.
About 80 residents in Yeoncheon, where the shell fell, were evacuated to underground bunkers, and authorities have urged other residents to evacuate.
A South Korean official said there were no reports of injuries or damage in Yeoncheon.
In the nearby border city of Paju, residents were advised to stay at home.
And on Ganghwa Island near the Koreas' disputed western sea boundary, residents in villages near a site where South Korea operates another one of its loudspeakers were also evacuated.
The cross-border propaganda warfare followed accusations from Seoul that Pyongyang had planted land mines on the South Korean side of the Demilitarised Zone - maiming two South Korean soldiers last week.
Pyongyang's powerful National Defense Commission had claimed that Seoul fabricated the evidence on the land mines and demanded video proof.
The land mine explosions resulted in one soldier losing both legs and another soldier one leg.
Last October, North Korean troops opened fire at areas near Yeoncheon, after South Korean activists launched balloons there that carried propaganda leaflets across the border.
South Korea returned fire, but no casualties were reported. Later in October, border guards from the two Koreas again exchanged gunfire along the border, without any casualties.
It comes as new pictures were released showing a rocket testing site under construction in the North.
Analysis of new satellite images revealed a large patch of burnt land close to a vertical engine stand - suggesting a recent test was carried out.
Building work is also underway at the site to allow larger rockets to be fired.
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