North fishing boats cross NLL twice
Seven North Korean fishing boats crossed the tense western maritime border with South Korea twice yesterday, but moved back into the North’s waters after a South Korean naval boat broadcast warning messages, military officials said.
The North Korean fishing boats sailed 1.5 kilometers (1,640 yards) into the South’s waters around 7:30 a.m., but retreated after South Korean patrol boats broadcast a warning, officials at Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
At the time, a North Korean government boat also briefly crossed the de facto sea border trying to escort the fishing boats back onto the North’s side of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea, JCS officials said. No skirmish erupted.
About two hours later, seven North Korean fishing boats again sailed 2.2 kilometers into the South’s waters, but moved back to the North’s waters after warning messages from South Korean naval boats, JCS officials said.
“After our patrol boat ordered them to retreat, the North Korean fishing boats returned to the northern side of the NLL,” a JCS official said on the condition of anonymity.
“Given the circumstances, they sailed into the South’s waters for fishing,” the official said.
It was not immediately clear whether the same seven boats had crossed the NLL twice, he said.
It was the second violation this year involving North Korean fishing boats in the crab-rich waters near the NLL.
There were about 40 South Korean fishing boats on the southern side of the NLL at the time of the incursion, according to the official.
The NLL was the scene of several bloody skirmishes between the navies of the two Koreas.