A day after the incident that increased tension over the North’s missile tests, South Korea’s military claimed on Sunday that it fired warning shots at a North Korean vessel that had crossed the maritime border, as reported by Reuters.
The Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto sea border, was violated by a North Korean patrol boat at 11 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Saturday. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the South fired warning shots and issued warnings to expel the vessel.
“Our military maintains a decisive battle posture while monitoring the enemy’s movements in preparation for potential provocations regarding NLL violations by North Korean patrol boats,” the JCS stated in a statement on Sunday.
Amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s recent military activities, a South Korean patrol ship was involved in a minor collision with a Chinese fishing vessel due to poor visibility, resulting in slight injuries to the South Korean crew. This incident occurred as the North continued to challenge the validity of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a maritime border established after the Korean War. The North’s increased military actions include the recent testing of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which experts say could be launched with little warning. In October, the two Koreas engaged in a confrontation in the western waters, exchanging warning shots and accusing each other of breaching the sea border in an area where such incidents have occurred before.
A practice for nuclear war?
Since March, South Korean and American soldiers have been conducting their annual springtime drills. Pyongyang has warned military response, calling them a practice for nuclear war.
The U.S. Air Force and Marines will participate in joint training exercises starting on Monday, the South Korean air force announced on Sunday.
110 aircraft, including South Korean F-35 and F-15 fighters, American F-16 jets, and KC-135 aerial refuelling tankers, as well as 1,400 personnel from both sides, would be mobilised for the exercises, it added.
This week, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un issued an order to increase war deterrents in a “more practical and offensive” way to fight what the isolated nation dubbed American and South Korean aggression.
Seoul and Washington claim that the purpose of their drills is defensive deterrence of the North.
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