SEOUL, May 23 (Xinhua) -- South Korea on Friday denounced the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s denial of its responsibility for the artillery shells that fell in waters near a South Korean naval ship sailing around the disputed maritime border.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a routine press briefing that the DPRK sent a notice earlier in the morning and claimed it was irrelevant to the provocative artillery fire in the previous day.
It was a "brazen lie" to pass the buck, Kim said, noting it will bring the DPRK into the derision of the international community.
His comments came a day after the DPRK shot couples of rounds of artillery shells toward South Korean territorial waters and two shells landed in waters just about 150 meters away from the South Korean naval ship on a patrol mission near the inter-Korean sea boundary called the Northern Limit Line (NLL).
The South Korean navy fired back several rounds in response to it. No damage and casualties have been reported.
Kim said that the shells were believed to have been fired from battery positions in the DPRK's southwestern coast, noting where the DPRK opened fire was not exactly confirmed.
The spokesman, however, said that the shells were truly fired by the DPRK as the radar detected and recorded the water columns that were caused when the shells landed right beside the patrol ship. He called it clear evidence.
The Southwestern Command of the Korean People's Army warned of an "aimed shot" at South Korean naval ships on Wednesday after South Korea fired several warning shots at three DPRK patrol ships, which violated the NLL a day earlier. Kim said the Thursday firing was not seen as an aimed shot.
The NLL is an inter-Korean maritime boundary set by the United Nations after the 1950-53 Korean War occurred. The DPRK has never recognized the sea border and has claimed it should be redrawn farther south.
The shells also fell in waters some 14 km southwest of Yeonpyeong Island, a hotspot on the Korean Peninsula as naval skirmishes happened near the island. In November 2010, the DPRK fired artillery shells at Yeonpyong, killing two civilians and two marines.
In late March, the DPRK shot some 500 hundred rounds of shells with its artillery guns just north of the NLL, and some 100 of them fell in waters near the disputed border island. The South Korean military fired back some 300 rounds.