A North Korean patrol boat briefly crossed into South Korean territory on the western side of the peninsula Friday but turned back after South Korean forces fired warning shots.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the incursion into the South’s side of the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea took place a little after noon. The South fired six warning shots, and the Northern vessel retreated shortly thereafter.
Naval incidents in the west of the peninsula are not unusual, as the North does not recognize the NLL and has since 1999 claimed a “West Sea Military Demarcation” line further south than what South Korea, as well as the UN, officially recognize.
1999 saw the First Battle of Yeonpyeong, followed by the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong three years later and the Battle of Daecheong in 2009. All three were small-scale naval clashes resulting in decisive victories for the Southern navy.
In 2010, however, the South’s Cheonan vessel sank in the West Sea, killing 46 servicemen, and a multi-nation blamed a torpedo from a North Korean midget submarine. Later that year the North bombarded the island of Yeonpyeong in the same area, killing two South Korean soldiers and two civilians.
The North denied involvement in the Cheonan sinking and said the Yeonpyeong attack was provoked by a live-fire demonstration the South had been carrying out, and that South Korean shells had landed in territory the North claims.
This latest incident takes place on the first day of the Asian Games in Incheon, which North Korea is taking part in. Pyongyang’s participation, though, has been fraught with tension, as the North originally planned to send a cheering squad but ultimately pulled them, denouncing Southern conservatives’ “sinister political purpose.”
Just before the athletes arrived from the North, local officials took down the national flags on display for all participating nations due to anti-Pyongyang protests.
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