S Korea navy fires warning shots at North

2012-09-21 13:01
South Korean Navy vessels are berthed at an MSB (Movement Sea Base) off the South Korea-controlled island of Yeonpyeong near the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea. (AFP)

South Korean Navy vessels are berthed at an MSB (Movement Sea Base) off the South Korea-controlled island of Yeonpyeong near the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea. (AFP)

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Seoul - The South Korean navy fired warning shots on Friday at half a dozen North Korean fishing vessels that crossed their disputed Yellow Sea border, the defence ministry said.

The six North Korean boats swiftly returned to their side of the border after the incident, a ministry spokesperson said.

"Our naval patrol boats twice fired machine gun rounds at the fishing vessels. Afterwards the North Korean vessels retreated to their territory," he said.

The incident was the latest in a series of incursions by North Korean fishing vessels in recent weeks.

Earlier on Friday, Yonhap had quoted an unidentified senior military official as saying the navy would take action if the incursions continued.

"If North Korean boats repeatedly cross [the border] for fishing, the military will promptly and sternly respond, without hesitation," the official said.

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

The two Koreas remain technically at war since the Korean War was concluded with a truce rather than a peace treaty.

The maritime border was the scene of deadly naval clashes in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

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