June 30, 2015 11:07
Politicians and other luminaries attended a ceremony on Monday marking the 13th anniversary of the Yeonpyeong Naval Battle at the Navy's 2nd Fleet headquarters in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.
The clash is currently being glorified in the slick, partly crowdfunded film "Northern Limit Line."
More than 700 guests included the families of the sailors who died in the skirmish on the West Sea as well as surviving crewmembers, Defense Minister Han Min-koo, the heads of the ruling Saenuri Party and main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, and Gyeonggi Province Governor Nam Kyung-pil.
"The sailors clearly demonstrated our proud history of letting no one cross an inch of our maritime border," Han said. "They move us emotionally and give a life lesson to remember. And their spirit continues to thrive in our hearts every day."
It was the first time an incumbent defense minister delivered a speech at the anniversary of the skirmish that left six South Korean sailors dead and 18 wounded. Thirteen North Koreans died.
Previously the government opted for low-key events to mark the anniversary, partly for fear of agitating the North, which does not acknowledge the Northern Limit Line.
Two skirmishes took place near the Northern Limit Line after North Korean patrol ships crossed it and opened fire on South Korean vessels. The other was on June 15, 1999.
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