North Korea Fires Artillery at South Korean Island

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A cloud of smoke is rising from one South Korean island today. That country's government says it's the victim of an attack from its neighbor, North Korea. Dozens of artillery shells hit buildings on the island, in what is one of the most tense moments in relations between the two nations.

South Korea's cable TV news channel YTN showed images of what Seoul says is the aftermath of artillery shelling by the North.

The channel quoted a witness as saying up to 70 houses were on fire.

Dozens of shells reportedly rained down for about an hour, then stopped abruptly.

It's the most serious exchange of fire between the two in years.

South Korea's military confirmed an exchange had taken place but gave no details.

It said one soldier was killed and three wounded.

The island of Yeonpyeong off the west coast of the peninsula has reportedly been evacuated.

In the South Korean capital there were mixed reactions.

[Shim Soo-hee, Seoul Resident]:
"I think it's highly likely there will be war with the North. I'm living near the North so I feel more threatened."

[Kim Dong-il, Seoul Resident]:
"I don't think there will be a full-scale war but I urge the government to take stronger measures against this. The North has only caused us suffering."

The attack happened as the top U.S. envoy on North Korea arrived on a scheduled visit to Beijing.

Stephen Bosworth made no comment to media who were waiting for him at the airport.