South Korea navy fires warning shots at North vessel

Agence France-Presse

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South Korea navy fires warning shots at North vessel
The incident comes a day after the North's launch of a long-range rocket raised tensions

SEOUL, South Korea – The South Korean navy fired warning shots at a North Korean patrol boat that intruded over their disputed maritime border Monday, February 8, a day after the North’s launch of a long-range rocket raised tensions.

The defense ministry in Seoul said the North Korean vessel crossed the Yellow Sea border just before 7:00am (2300 GMT Sunday).

“It quickly retreated after the South Korean navy fired warning shots,” a ministry official said.

The de-facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas – the Northern Limit Line – is not recognized by Pyongyang, which argues it was unilaterally drawn by US-led United Nations forces after the 1950-53 Korean War.

Both sides complain of frequent incursions by the other and there were limited naval clashes in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

Incidents like Monday’s intrusion are quite common and rarely escalate into anything more serious.

However, South Korea is on a high state of alert following Sunday’s (February 7) rocket launch, which Seoul insists amounted to a disguised ballistic missile test.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has called for heightened vigilance against any further provocation following the launch and North Korea’s fourth nuclear test last month. –

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