December 04, 2022

Militarization Of The Isands Is Not The Solution

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong, on June 29th 2002. The First Battle of Yeonpyeong was fought on June 15th, 1999, and claimed the lives of between 17 and 30 DPRK sailors. The Second Battle saw the death of 6 ROK sailors and 13 DPRK sailors. This happened despite the fact that humanitarian aid to the DPRK had been growing steadily during the period 1997-2002[1] and the DPRK had received a further $500m in exchange for participating in the 2000 inter-Korean summit. Both of these clashes took place along the Northern Limit Line.

The Northern Limit Line (NLL) has long been considered as the most dangerous area on the Korean Peninsula and yet goes overlooked as a focal point for diplomatic pressure. Initially imposed in 1953, in response to concerns about ROK President Syngman Rhee threatening the Armistice Agreement[2], it was also a restraint on the DPRK. It was close to this line where the two naval battles occurred. In 2010, the corvette Cheonan sank in disputed circumstances, while Yeonpyeong Island has been subjected to an artillery attack from the North.