April 28, 2011 11:19
What appeared to be a small North Korean patrol boat crossed the de facto maritime border near U Island in the West Sea around 9:38 p.m. Tuesday and stayed in South Korean waters for about nine minutes, but retreated after a South Korean Navy ship fired warning shots, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday.
This was the first time this year that a North Korean patrol boat has violated the Northern Limit Line and retreated after warning shots.
"A boat presumed to have been a North Korean coast guard patrol crossed the NLL 0.4 miles [about 700 m] into our waters. A naval high-speed boat navigating in nearby waters immediately responded to the violation," the JCS spokesman said. "The high-speed boat fired eight 40 mm gun shells into waters 500 m before the North Korean boat's bow."
The high-speed boat first gave the North Korean boat three verbal warning messages. At the time, about 100 Chinese trawlers were catching fish north of the NLL.
A military source said, "It seems highly likely the North Korean patrol boat violated the NLL while trying to crack down on Chinese trawlers fishing there illegally, but we're also investigating the possibility that it was a deliberate invasion."
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