Warships from the rival Koreas have exchanged warning shots after a North Korean ship briefly crossed the disputed western sea boundary.

The shots were fired into the sea and there were no reports of injuries and damage to the ships of either side, a South Korean defence official said.

Such exchanges are not uncommon at the sea boundary, the scene of several deadly maritime skirmishes between the Koreas in recent years. But the latest incident happened three days after a group of high-profile North Korean officials made a surprise visit to South Korea and agreed to resume senior-level talks.

South Korean president Park Geun-hye stressed the need to hold high-level talks on a regular basis, saying she hoped North Korea would show how sincere it was about improving ties.

The South Korean official said the North Korean ship was in South-controlled waters for about 10 minutes before it retreated. He said a South Korean navy ship first broadcast a warning and then fired warning shots before the North ship fired back at waters near the South ship. The South ship returned fire into the sea near the North vessel.

North Korean navy ships and fishing boats frequently violate the boundary drawn by the American-led United Nations command at the end of the Korean War in the early 1950s without the North’s consent. The line cuts North Korea off from rich fishing waters.

The Korean Peninsula remains at a technical state of war because the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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