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Korea flare-up

Seoul, June 1 (Reuters): South Korea’s navy fired warning shots today after North Korean fishing boats crossed the border between the rival nations and the US and Russia called on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme.

The fresh tension came amid a newspaper report that the two Koreas could join the US, Japan and China at a multilateral meeting in Kuala Lumpur later this month to discuss the nuclear crisis. Pyongyang insisted, however, that such multilateral talks could only come after bilateral talks with Washington. There were no reports of any injuries or damage in the firing after the intrusion by eight North Korean boats across the maritime border in the Yellow Sea, rich crab fishing grounds where deadly naval gun battles erupted last June and in 1999.

“North Korean ships ignored our warning broadcasts and kept working, without retreating,” said Kim Sung-wook, spokesperson for the South Korean joint chiefs of staff. “We urge it to take responsible actions,” he said, adding Seoul would hold . Korea responsible for incidents arising from crossing the maritime border. Tensions have been high on the Korean peninsula for more than seven months, since the North had revealed it was pursuing a secret nuclear arms programme.

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