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Bildt: North Korea attack 'very worrying'

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Bildt: North Korea attack 'very worrying'
10:09 CET+01:00
Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt has described news of North Korea's attack on South Korea as "very worrying" in a blog post on Wednesday morning.

"Sudden North Korean artillery shelling of a South Korean island leads to new and serious questions about the North Korean regime's nature and intent," Bildt wrote on blog, "Alla Dessa Dagar" (literally: All these days).

Bildt continued to express concern over the future for the fragile ceasefire between the nations that has existed since the end of the Korean War.

"It is crucial that, not least China, uses all his influence to affect the regime in Pyongyang. Otherwise, the risks on the Korean Peninsula will increase significantly."

South Korea confirmed on Tuesday morning that it had returned fire after North Korea fired around 200 artillery shells at an island near the border.

The attack on Yeonpyeong island which left two marines dead, as well as two soldiers and four civilians injured, has prompted South Korea to place its military on its highest non-wartime alert since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

North Korea has not yet commented on the attack, with the country's leader Kim Jong-il reported to be ill and recent focus has centred on the likely transfer of power to his son, Kim Jong-un.

The attack has given cause for Stephen Bosworth, the US special representative for North Korea, to rule out the resumption of six-party talks concerning the nuclear issue, according to a BBC report.

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