South Korea Fires Warning Shots At North Korean Patrol Boat That Breached Boundary
A dangerous live-fire incident has been reported in a disputed sea border patrolled by both North and South Korea on Saturday.
Reportedly a North Korean vessel had been pursuing a Chinese fishing boat, according to the military statement, and subsequently retreated after warning shots were fired from a South Korean military patrol boat.
“Our military maintains decisive battle posture while monitoring the enemy’s movements in preparation for potential provocations regarding NLL (Northern Limit Line) violations by North Korean patrol boats,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a Sunday Statement, confirming the prior day’s incident.
Tensions are already soaring after a series of joint US-South Korea military drills which have been answered with the north conducting a series of major weapons tests, including of ballistic missiles and what’s been described as an underwater nuclear drone.
Saturday’s incident on the seas may have involved a collision, as The Hill describes:
The disputed sea border between the two countries, the Northern Limit Line, has served as a theater for provocation and naval showdowns in the past. South Korean officials said one of its ships came into “minor” contact with a Chinese vessel due to poor visibility, but said there were only slight injuries reported.
As for Pyongyang’s spate of recent missile tests, Time has analyzed missile launch data by North Korea and compared it to last year’s:
Last year was already record-breaking: data from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, which has been documenting North Korean missile launches since 1984, showed 68 tests in 2022—10 times more than in 2021. And there are no signs that the country plans to let up.
Already the country is on track to surpass this:
On Thursday morning local time, prompting a temporary evacuate-or-seek-shelter warning in Japan, North Korea reportedly fired a ballistic missile toward the East Sea—Pyongyang’s 12th test of the year so far, according to a review by TIME of reports by North Korea’s state news agency, South Korea’s military, and international media.
Regional US ally Japan in particular has been fearful of the increasing tests ordered by the Kim Jong-Un regime. Upon a last Thursday launch, Japan issued an evacuation order for a northern island but soon retracted it when the missile’s flight path was believed no longer a threat.
Sun, 04/16/2023 – 18:00