A DPRK patrol boat crossed the de-facto maritime border between North and South Korea, the South Korean military announced on Monday.
The 420 tonne North Korean military vessel crossed the NLL [Northern Limit Line] at 10.46 pm on Monday night, sailing to a location 23.4 km west of South Korea’s Baengnyeong Island. The DPRK ship retreated at 2.25 am after South Korean military vessels broadcast ten warnings. The two sides did not exchange fire.
"The North Korean ship’s NLL violation is seen as part of military drills or an inspection of (the South Korean military). It is believed that the North Korean vessel intended to test the South Korean military," ROK defense ministry spokesperson Kim Min Seok told reporters.
The event is the first such incursion in 2014, and occurred on the same day as the beginning of joint South Korean-US military drills, which have been hotly protested by Pyongyang.
"The military decided to make public [the border trespass] because people have a lot of interest in the North Korean military’s moves," Kim said.
The DPRK had threatened to cancel planned family reunions if the military drills took place, but – after Seoul refused – in a rare concession, let the reunions go ahead as planned.
[Image: ROK and US ships patrol Korean waters. Via Flickr]