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UN Chief Ban Ki-moon Condemns North Korea’s Attack on South

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned North Korea’s attack on a South Korean island near their disputed border, calling it “one of the gravest incidents since the end of the Korean War.”

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said he was “deeply concerned” by the incident, which he blamed on North Korea, and urged “immediate restraint.” The statement was released at the UN in New York.

North Korea lobbed artillery shells at the island, killing two soldiers and setting houses ablaze in the worst attack on its neighbor in at least eight months. South Korea returned fire with 80 shells and scrambled fighter jets as President Lee Myung Bak vowed to respond “sternly.”

The MSCI Asia-Pacific excluding Japan Index declined 2.3 percent to 453.89 as of 8:06 p.m. in Hong Kong. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index sank 1.3 percent AT 10:20 a.m. in New York.

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