The White House on Tuesday condemned a North Korean artillery attack against a small South Korean island.

North Korea fired artillery onto a South Korean island near a disputed border on Tuesday after warning South Korea to stop pre-scheduled military drills on the island, according to South Korean officials. Two South Korean marines were killed during the attack, a number of  others were injured and several buildings caught fire.

In a brief statement released by press secretary Robert Gibbs, the White House called on North Korea "to halt its belligerent action" and to live up to the terms of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

The attack against the island of Yeonpyeong is the latest in a series of provocative actions taken by North Korea in the weeks since its leader, Kim Jong Il, announced his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, would be his heir.

Gibbs said the Obama administration is "firmly committed to the defense" of South Korea and regional peace and stability.