North Korea, South Korea Exchange Fire Near Sea Border

Korean ships exchanged fire Thursday, prompting the evacuation of nearby Yeonpyeong island.

North Korea, South Korea Exchange Fire Near Sea Border

A North Korean ship fired artillery shells Thursday near a South Korean patrol boat, prompting the patrol boat to return fire.

"The patrol boat was situated 14 kilometers from Yeonpyeongdo island, below the Northern limit line — the de facto maritime border between the two Koreas." (Via Arirang News)

And Arirang reports nearly 800 residents of nearby Yeonpyeong island were evacuated to bomb shelters.

Fox News spoke with retired Four-Star General Jack Keane, who says North Korea was attempting to send a message it doesn't respect the U.N.-drawn sea border.

"The North Koreans do not recognize the boundary at sea between South Korea and North Korea. That's the issue here. ... They look for points of contention." (Via Fox News)

And Voice of America reports Pyongyang held true to threats it issued on Wednesday saying it would attack any South Korean ships near the maritime border. 

Time says this is only the latest in increasing tension between the countries recently. "The rhetoric between the two countries has been intensifying, with Pyongyang dishing out ... insults at Seoul, and a spokesperson from South Korea's defense ministry saying that the North was not a real country and 'must disappear soon.'"

On Tuesday, Yonhap News Agency reported three North Korean military ships "briefly crossed" the sea border, prompting South Korean boats to fire warning shots. 

There have been no reports of damages or injuries resulting from Thursday's artillery exchange.