SEOUL, South Korea The two Koreas briefly exchanged naval fire Tuesday along their disputed western sea border, with a North Korean ship suffering heavy damage before retreating, South Korean military officials said.
There were no South Korean casualties, the country's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, and it was not immediately clear if there were any casualties on the North Korean side.
The North's patrol boat crossed the disputed western sea border Tuesday morning, drawing warning shots from a South Korean navy vessel, the statement said. The North Korean boat then opened fire and the South's ship returned fire before the North's vessel sailed back toward its waters, the statement said.
The North Korean ship was seriously damaged in the skirmish while the South Korean ship was unscathed, a Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.
There was no immediate comment from North Korea on the clash.
Navies of the two Koreas fought deadly skirmishes along the western sea border in 1999 and 2002.
No South Korean sailors were killed in 1999, but six south Korean sailors were killed in 2002, according to the South Korean navy. It said exact North Korean causalities remain unclear.