Shots Fired in the Yellow Sea
September 21st, 2012
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Earlier today North Korean fishing vessels received a warning when they crossed a disputed border into the Yellow Sea. ¬†The South Korean navy “welcomed” the fleet of six boats with a volley of machine gun rounds.
These were apparently warning shots: no direct hits were made and the South Korean vessels retreated immediately without engaging. This is the 5th time this month the North Korean boats have attempted to fish the disputed waters.
An anonymous South Korean defense ministry spokesman stated:
“Our naval patrol boats twice fired machine gun rounds at the fishing vessels. Afterwards the North Korean vessels retreated to their territory. ¬†(The military will)¬†promptly and sternly respond, without hesitation if the boats continue to cross the border.”
The questioned maritime border is a frequent site for skirmishes between the two countries. ¬†The waters of the Yellow Sea are rich with seafood, particularly crab. The border is not clearly marked and incursions occur often. Several dozen lives have been lost in three¬†separate¬†naval battles in the area since 1999.
According to the AP there is almost 60 years of unrest in the area:
The Korean War ended nearly 60 years ago with a truce, not with a peace treaty, so the U.S.-led United Nations Command divided the Yellow Sea without Pyongyang’s consent. The boundary favoured South Korea, cutting North Korea off from rich fishing waters and boxing in one of its crucial deep-water ports. North Korea has bitterly contested the line ever since.
Pyongyang argues the line should run farther south. But for Seoul, accepting such a line would endanger fishing around five South Korean islands and hamper access to its port at Incheon.
In 2010, a North Korean artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong Island, which is near the boundary, killed four South Koreans, including two civilians. Also in 2010, an explosion ripped apart a South Korean warship in the area, killing 46 sailors. Seoul says Pyongyang torpedoed the vessel. North Korea denies responsibility.
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Contributed by Kimberly Paxton of www.TheDailySheeple.com.
Kimberly Paxton, a staff writer for the Daily Sheeple, is based out of upstate New York.
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