Pyongyang adds voice to NLL campaign issue

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Pyongyang adds voice to NLL campaign issue

Pyongyang ratcheted up its rhetoric on the de facto maritime border with the South, calling it “a ghost line that was unilaterally drawn by the United States.”

The North’s powerful National Defense Commission, which is chaired by leader Kim Jong-un, issued a statement Saturday condemning President Lee Myung-bak’s recent visit to the western island of Yeonpyeong, which is near the so-called Northern Limit Line and was shelled by the North on Nov. 23, 2010, killing four people.

“In the Yellow Sea, there will be only our own maritime military boundary drawn by us, not the Northern Limit Line,” the statement read.

The North’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement the same day, “The NLL, drawn by the United States unilaterally without any consent from us, is a ghost line that has no grounds under international law and violates the armistice treaty.”

The statements Saturday appear to be an attempt to affect public opinion ahead of the Dec. 19 presidential election. In the past two weeks, the NLL has become a campaign issue of sorts. Two weeks ago, a ruling party lawmaker made a series of bombshell allegations that former President Roh Moo-hyun disavowed the border during a 2007 inter-Korean summit and even described it as “a line unilaterally drawn by the United States.”

By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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