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Seoul: N. Korea fires artillery shells into ocean

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Monday fired artillery shells into waters near its sea border with South Korea, Seoul's military said, a day after the country test-launched two ballistic missiles in the latest of a series of weapon tests. The shells fired from sites near the heavily fortified land border landed north of the maritime border so South Korea hasn't returned fire, said an officer at Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said the North Korean firing was continuing but gave no further details. South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the North fired 100 shells, presumed to be from multiple rocket launch systems. The news agency cited an unidentified military official. The eastern sea border is clearly marked compared with the Koreas' disputed western sea boundary, the scene of several bloody maritime skirmishes between the two Koreas in recent years. The Koreas exchanged artillery fire twice earlier this year near the western sea boundary. North Korea has been conducting an unusually large number of missile and rocket tests recently, including two ballistic missile launches as late as Sunday, though it has also proposed a set of measures it says will lower tension between the Koreas. Analyst say the conflicting moves indicate North Korea will keep trying to bolster its defense regardless of its recent push to lower tension unless Seoul and Washington make major concessions such as scaling down their regular military drills it calls an invasion rehearsal. Earlier Monday, South Korea said North Korea has agreed to hold talks at a border village on Thursday to discuss the North's participation in the upcoming Asian Games in the South.

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