North promises physical response to western drill

Home > National > Politics

print dictionary print

North promises physical response to western drill

Despite North Korea’s threat of “powerful physical retaliation,” South Korea said yesterday it will go ahead with a planned drill in the dangerous waters west of the peninsula.

Starting tomorrow, South Korea will hold anti-submarine drills for five days in the Yellow Sea. The exercise was planned as an armed demonstration to Pyongyang to protest North Korea’s deadly torpedo attack on the South Korean warship Cheonan in March near the western inter-Korean border. The South’s Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force will have a joint exercise in various locations in the Yellow Sea and will include a series of firing drills.

The communist country’s military yesterday made clear its opposition to the drills, particularly the exercise planned to take place off the five islands near the inter-Korean border. “We will return fire for fire,” the North said in a statement, according to the North’s Korean Central News Agency.

Once again, the North challenged the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea, insisting that the South is planning drills in its territorial waters and calling the exercise an overt military intrusion.

The North also repeated its argument that it had nothing to do with the Cheonan’s sinking.

“The Command of Forces of the Korean People’s Army in the western sector of the front made a decisive resolution to counter the reckless naval firing projected by the group of traitors with strong physical retaliation,” it said, claiming that the maritime border drawn by North Korea is the line that actually separates the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea.

The North also warned all vessels, including civilian ships, to stay out of the western waters because it expects to “physically retaliate.”

It is unclear if the North will actually live up to its threat of physical response. A more serious warning of a nuclear response was issued ahead of last month’s U.S.-South Korea joint exercise in the East Sea, but it did not take any action.

South Korea dismissed the North’s argument about the maritime and territorial borders.

“It is nonsense for the North to comment on the drills taking place in our territorial waters,” said Lee Bung-wu, chief public affairs officer of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “We will stick with our itinerary as scheduled.”

Lee also urged the North to stop challenging the western maritime border. “The Northern Limit Line is the only maritime border the two Koreas have respected since the Korean War armistice,” he said.

The Northern Limit Line is the de facto maritime demarcation line between the two Koreas in the waters west of the peninsula. The line was unilaterally drawn by the U.S.-led United Nations forces in 1953 after the UN Command and North Korea failed to reach an agreement.

North Korea has violated the western sea border, and naval skirmishes have taken place in nearby waters in June 1999, June 2002 and November 2009.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article

“서해훈련 땐 물리적 타격” … 북, 대남 위협

한국군은 “예정대로 훈련”


북한군은 3일 우리 군이 5~9일 서해에서 실시하는 육·해·공 합동 해상훈련에 대해 “강력한 물리적 대응 타격으로 진압할 것”이라고 말했다. 북한군 ‘전선서부지구사령부’는 이날 조선중앙통신을 통해 발표한 ‘통고문’에서 “백령도·대청도·연평도 인근 수역에서 지상·해상·수중 타격 수단들을 동원해 벌이려는 괴뢰 군부 호전광들의 해상사격 소동은 단순한 훈련이 아니다”며 “공화국(북한) 영해에 대한 노골적인 군사적 침공 행위이며 정치적 도발”이라며 이같이 위협했다.

통고문은 또 “서해에는 오직 우리가 설정한 해상분계선만이 있을 뿐”이라며 “우리의 자위적인 대응 타격이 예견되는 것과 관련해 서해 5개 섬 인근 수역에서 어선들을 포함한 모든 민간 선박들은 역적패당이 설정한 해상사격구역에 들어가지 말 것을 사전에 알린다”고 전했다. 우리 군은 훈련 기간 백령도 인근 수역에서 함포 및 K-9 자주포 사격을 실시할 계획이어서 남북 군 간 긴장이 높아질 전망이다.

  • 한글 기사 보기
  • Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
    with the Korea JoongAng Daily
    help-image Social comment?
    s
    lock icon

    To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

    Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

    What’s Popular Now