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North Korea fires artillery warning shots

November 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A defiant North Korea fired artillery warning shots on Friday, sending a signal to both Seoul and Washington that it will not back down.According to area reports, none of the rounds hit South Korea's territory. However, some residents panicked and ran to air raid shelters

The shots were fired just after the top U.S. commander in South Korea, Gen. Walter Sharp, toured the island of Yeonpyeong in a show of solidarity with Seoul.

Tensions have risen between the Koreas since the North's strike Tuesday destroyed large parts of Yeonpyeong, killing two civilians and two marines in a major escalation of their skirmishes along the sea border.

The skirmish forced South Korea's defense minister to resign Thursday, and President Lee Myung-bak on Friday named a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the post.

The heightened animosity between the Koreas is taking place as the North undergoes a delicate transition of power from leader Kim Jong Il to his young, inexperienced son Kim Jong Un, who is in his late 20s and is expected to eventually succeed his ailing father.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.