South Korea fired broadcast warnings to expel a North Korean patrol boat that breached the de facto sea boundary the Northern Limit Line (NLL) at 11am local time on Saturday, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
“Our military maintains decisive battle posture while monitoring the enemy’s movements in preparation for potential provocations regarding NLL violations by North Korean patrol boats,” the JCS said in a statement.
The vessel’s border breach comes as tension has flared over the North’s increased military activities in recent weeks.
Last week North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed the “miraculous success” of its new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile which experts say may facilitate missile launches by the country with little warning.
The missile test carried out on Thursday prompted Japan to order the evacuation of its citizens on Hokkaido island – a warning it later retracted.
The solid-fuel ICBM, experts say, is more advanced than the liquid-fuelled missiles it currently operates as it can be launched quickly, making them harder to detect when having intercontinental targets, such as the US.
While the test was a demonstration of the North’s technological advancement towards building a nuclear arsenal capable of reaching the US, analysts say it still did not demonstrate the new weapon system’s full capacity.
Pyongyang has also threatened “quick, overwhelming action” in response to the US and South Korea holding their annual springtime exercises since March.
The South’s air force has said it would conduct combined drills with the US Air Force and Marines from Monday until 28 April.
The exercises are expected to include over 100 aircraft, including South Korea’s F-35 and F-15 fighters and American F-16 jets and KC-135 aerial refuelling tankers, as well as 1,400 troops from both sides, Reuters reported.
North Korea’s state media KCNA said the country would “ceaselessly develop” its military power to become a “superpower” with the ability to deter nuclear holocaust and enhance its nuclear war deterrence for self-defence.
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