S.Korea fires warning shots as N.Korean soldiers briefly cross border

South Korea's military says its troops fired warning shots when North Korean soldiers briefly crossed the military demarcation line between the two countries on Sunday. More than 10 North Korean soldiers apparently violated the land border by mistake.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday that the incident occurred shortly past noon on Sunday. It added that the North Korean soldiers immediately returned to their territory, after the South Korean military issued warning broadcasts and fired warning shots.

Sources close to the South Korean military said the North Korean soldiers were carrying pickaxes or other tools. The sources noted that they appeared to have been engaged in some kind of activity in the Demilitarized Zone. They said that the soldiers apparently breached the line by accident.

The JCS told reporters that the site is a wooded area and the signs indicating where the military demarcation line is located were not clearly visible. It said the military believes that the North Korean soldiers did not intentionally cross the border.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that the JCS's announcement, which was made two days after the incident, was an apparent effort to keep inter-Korean tensions from being aggravated further.

Also on Sunday, the South Korean military used loudspeakers to resume issuing anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts near the military demarcation line for the first time in six years.

Pyongyang recently sent balloons carrying trash flying into South Korea. The move was apparently in retaliation for the anti-Pyongyang balloons that some North Korean defectors in the South sent into the North.