South Korean military vessels navigate on waters off Busan, South Korea, on Oct. 23, 2015, during a fleet review to celebrate the 70th founding anniversary of the country's navy
Kyodo—AP
By Nash Jenkins
October 26, 2015

The South Korean navy fired shots at a North Korean vessel that crossed the disputed maritime border separating the two rival states on Saturday afternoon, Reuters reported.

Authorities in Pyongyang said the boat was conducting a “routine” exercise when it entered the waters that Seoul claims as its own. The ship retreated without retaliation after the five shots were fired, but Pyongyang called the incident a “serious provocation.”

North Korea has refused to acknowledge the maritime boundaries in the Yellow Sea established by the Northern Limit Line, a border drafted after the Korean War.

“There will be only a war disaster, far from the improvement of the North-South relations, as long as the South Korean military warmongers go reckless,” a North Korean spokesperson told state media.

Though reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has expressed a rare willingness to engage in diplomatic dialogue with the country’s southern neighbor, tensions between the two have flared in recent months after a string of minor military confrontations in August. Two weeks after a mine blast injured two South Korean soldiers in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), North Korea responded to the South’s ensuing propaganda campaign by firing an artillery shell at the border city of Yeoncheon. A tacit cease-fire agreement followed, as well as a slew of family reunions last week.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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