23 November 2010
Last updated at 11:07
North Korea has shelled South Korea's border island of Yeonpyeong, prompting the South to return fire, in one of the most serious incidents since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
Dozens of shells landed on the island, damaging houses and sending plumes of thick smoke into the air. Two South Korean marines were killed and a number of people on the island were injured.
Shocked South Koreans watched the incident on TV, as the South's military was placed on its highest non-wartime alert.
South Korea has staged a series of military exercises on the island, angering the secretive government in Pyongyang.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took advice from his ministers during an emergency conference.
South Koreans - pictured here at a railway station in Seoul - watched events nervously. YTN TV reported that several houses were on fire and shells were still being fired on the island.
Many of the 1,500 residents of the heavily militarised island took cover in shelters, others decided the risk was too great, and took the ferry to the mainland port of Incheon.
The skirmish, watched by South Koreans from the shoreline, comes just six weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong-il unveiled his youngest son Kim Jong-un as his heir apparent.
The incident also comes after Pyongyang showed off what it claimed was a new uranium enrichment facility. The move prompted US special envoy to North Korea Stephen Bosworth to rule out the resumption of six-party talks on resolving the nuclear issue.