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South Korea warns over 'violation'

South Korea has denounced the firing of artillery from North Korea as a grave violation of their cease-fire and has warned it will deal "sternly" with any further provocations.

North Korea fired about 110 rounds from its western shores late on Monday afternoon - soon after the South Korean military concluded five days of large-scale naval drills staged in response to the deadly sinking of a warship.

Most of the shells landed in North Korean waters, but about 10 reached South Korean waters not far from an island inhabited by fishing families and South Korean troops, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in Seoul. Officials reported no damage.

The Defence Ministry called the move a violation of the armistice signed in 1953 at the end of the three-year Korean War.

"If North Korea continues its provocative rhetoric and acts, we will deal sternly with them," the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

North Korea, meanwhile, warned on Tuesday of a "war of retaliation".

Tensions have been high since the Cheonan warship went down in the choppy waters near the tense western sea border in late March, killing 46 sailors. It was the worst military attack on South Korea since the Korean War.

A five-nation team of investigators pinned the March explosion that destroyed the Cheonan on a North Korean torpedo fired from a submarine. North Korea, however, denies being behind the sinking.

In a show of force, South Korea and the US, which stations 28,500 troops in the South to protect its long-time ally, held massive joint military drills off the east coast of the peninsula last month.

South Korea also launched its own naval drills in the Yellow Sea, near the spot where the Cheonan sank.

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