November 16, 2011 09:38
North Korean violations of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border, have decreased to one-sixth the frequency of last year since January.
According to data the Joint Chiefs of Staff submitted to Future Hope Alliance lawmaker Song Young-sun on Tuesday, violations of the NLL by North Korean patrol and fishing boats grew from 21 in 2006 to 95 times in 2010. But there have been only 16 so far this year.
North Korean patrol boats crossed the NLL 11 times in 2006 and 13 times in 2010 but only five times this year.
The first trespass by a patrol boat was on April 26 this year, and a South Korean Navy speedboat fired eight warning shots from a 40-mm gun.
The North violated the NLL in the West Sea 226 times and in the East Sea eight times over the past five years.
Song said the reason the North is trespassing much less this year is probably that the South Korean military is on heightened alert after the North shelled Yeonpyeong Island last year, and it also seems to be responding to South Korean efforts to improve inter-Korean relations.
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