SEOUL - An US soldier was shot injured by South Korean police after a dramatic car chase through the capital Seoul early Sunday, media reports said.

The 23-year-old Private First Class, who was not named, was shot in the shoulder shortly after midnight, Yonhap news agency said. The agency and several other news outlets cited police in Yongsan district near the huge US military base in central Seoul. Police in the district declined to comment to AFP.

Media reports said police approached two soldiers in the Itaewon entertainment district after receiving complaints that the pair was apparently threatening passers-by with an air gun.

They reportedly fled, crashing into several other cars in a high-speed escape which continued for about 10 kilometres before the pair turned into a dead-end street.

The soldiers reportedly tried to ram their car into a police officer, prompting him to fire three shots at the car. They eventually fled to the US base.

The wounded soldier, who was driving the vehicle, was treated at the base and was said to be in stable condition. The Seoul police officer reportedly suffered a minor injury. Video from another car - shown on a local TV station Sunday night - showed the soldiers' vehicle driving at high speed past police officers.

The US 8th Army in the area reportedly offered an apology and vowed to cooperate in the investigation.

About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended with a ceasefire instead of a peace treaty.

Crimes or disputes involving the US troops are a sensitive subject in South Korea, even though many see their presence as necessary to deter an attack by North Korea.