South Korea Needs To Be Well Prepared For Possible Conflict With The NorthNorth Korea is claiming that five Yellow Sea islands which have been been considered part of South Korea for the past 50 years, belong to them. Yesterday North Korea officially announced that these islands in fact belong to them, and are guarding them in the name of the People's Army. As a result of this claim, South Korean ships and airplanes are being told to follow a very small two mile wide passage when passing by the five islands.
North Korea's claim on the islands seems to have some ulterior motive somehow connected to both South Korea and the U.S. Yesterday's announcements are in line with North Korea's September 1999 announcement of the maritime military borderline. The claims appear to be aimed at the U.S. Army in preparation for the talks between high ranking North Korean officials and the U.S.
At the same time, the claims seem to be intended to disturb South Korea during its national elections, because the country is not now able to focus on North Korea's actions. There is also speculation that North Korea is also laying claim to the five Yellow Sea islands in order to raise the issue of the NLL (Northern Limit Line) in international talks.
There is deep concern that North Korea will instigate some skirmishes with the South during the upcoming blue crab fishing season in the Yellow Sea. Many assume that North Korea will eventually invade South Korean territories, thereby breeching the North Korean-U.S. peace agreement.
No matter what North Korea's intentions are for 'taking over' the five Yellow Sea islands, we should remain alert in case of possible incursions. If our territories are encroached upon as they were last year, we must be strong and respond in kind. North Korea has never objected to the NLL, established in 1953, so it it should continue to be seen as a maritime military border. If North Korea wants to protest against the internationally accepted NLL, they should suggest the formation of an open inter-military committee, as set down in the agreement between the two Koreas. We hope that the government and the army will take decisive action in order to secure the security of South Korea.
by Jeon Ik-jin