Seoul: South Korean troops fired at a passenger jet flying from China with 119 people on board after mistaking it for a North Korean aircraft, amid increasingly fraught relations on the divided peninsula.

Two soldiers at a guard post on Gyodong Island, just 1.7 kilometres (one mile) south of the North Korean coast, fired their K-2 rifles on Friday towards the plane, descending as it approached Seoul's Incheon International Airport.

Ties between the two Koreas are at their lowest ebb in more than a decade after Pyongyang announced late last month that it was breaking all contacts with the South's conservative government.

The South Korean Asiana aircraft was flying southeast over Jumun island, 12 kilometres south of Gyodong, towards Incheon, when the soldiers fired a total of 99 rounds including two blanks, a news agency said.

"The firing continued about 10 minutes but the plane was too far off the rifle's range and it did not receive any damage," the news agency quoted a Marine Corps official as saying.

"When the plane appeared over Jumun island, soldiers mistook it as a North Korean military aircraft and fired." A Marine Corps spokesman confirmed the incident but declined to give further details.
   
An aviation controller told that the Asiana flight from the southwest Chinese city of Chengdu, carrying 119 people including crew members and passengers, was following a normal route.

"It was flying normally. It did not deviate from its normal route," the controller said.

An Asiana spokesman said that there was no damage as the plane was too far away from the military guard post, adding that the military had inquired whether the plane had received any damage.

South Korean soldiers had been alerted to possible provocative acts by North Korea amid simmering cross-border tensions.

(Agencies)