New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has condemned North Korea for the shelling of civilians in an area of South Korea.
At least two South Korean soldiers were killed by the shells and about 50 people were wounded in the incident of the island of Yeongpyeong, close to the maritime border on Tuesday.
The attack has been described as one of the worst border incidents since the Korean War.
Mr McCully says the attack represents a new and dangerous level of aggression by the North, coming in the wake of the sinking of a South Korean navy ship in March.
Mr Mc Cully said New Zealand joins other countries in expressing outrage over the attack.
But he says cool heads are needed to avoid the clash escalating into a more serious threat to regional stability.