The navy fired warning shots toward North Korean fishing boats that crossed a disputed maritime boundary yesterday, but the shots did not hit the boats and the vessels retreated.
Fishing boats routinely jostle for position in the rich waters of the Yellow Sea claimed by both countries during crab-catching season, which is now in high gear. Three deadly naval clashes since 1999 have taken a few dozen lives. The disputed sea boundary is not clearly marked, and incursions by North Korean military and fishing boats are not unusual.
No North Korean navy ships were involved in yesterday's incident along a western sea boundary that the North has refused to recognise, an official with South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Six North Korean boats crossed the boundary and refused to return until the warning shots were fired, the official said.