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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

North, South Korean Ships Clash in Yellow Sea

Aired June 29, 2002 - 07:31   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: The South Korean military is on alert after a clash with North Korean patrol boats, killed at least four sailors. That happened in the waters of the Yellow Sea, at a disputed sea border between the two nations. Joining us now by phone from Seoul with the latest, CNN's Sohn Jie-Ae.

SOHN JIE-AE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kyra. South Korea's tensions have been raised between south and North Korea, as a naval battle ensued earlier this morning, local time.

South Korean military officials say that around 9:54, local time, a North Korean vessel was seen to have intruded into South Korean waters. South Korean vessels went to warn North Korean vessels to return north, and they said the North Koreans opened fire. In the ensuing exchange of fire between South and North Korean vessels, South Korea reported four sailors were killed; one is reported missing, while 19 are reported injured. But, one South Korean patrol vessel caught fire and sank. South Korea said that North Korea's vessel was also destroyed.

Now, South Korean Defense Ministry officials say that the North Korean's provocation was a clear violation of the armed truce between the two Koreas following the Korean War, and they warned North Korea that all responsibility for the incident lies on North Korea. South Korean president also held an emergency National Security Council meeting and said they could not condone such acts that heightened tension in the Korean peninsula.

Meanwhile, North Korea blamed the South for the clash, and the North officials' central news agency said the exchange of fire was just done in self-defense -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, do you know the condition of the eighteen folks who were injured, Sohn Jie-Ae?

JIE-AE: Well, of them, seven are reported to be in pretty serious condition because of the fire that erupted on the vessel, so they are being treated in nearby hospitals and we'll have to see whether we'll have more causalities -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Sohn Jie-Ae, thank you so much.

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