The South Korean military has sent a North Korean boat and its seven crew members back across the countries’ disputed western maritime border a day after it drifted in waters near a border island.
South Korea’s navy on Tuesday fired warning shots to chase away a North Korean patrol vessel that temporarily crossed the so-called northern limit line while pursuing the boat near Baekryeong Island.
The seven crew members told South Korean military officials that they had drifted south of the border due to navigational errors and mechanical problems, and expressed a desire to return to North Korea, it said. the Seoul Ministry of Defense.
The South Korean navy has often fired warning shots to fend off North Korean ships crossing the countries’ poorly marked maritime border, but there have also been deadly clashes over the years.
South Korea has accused North Korea of attacking one of its warships in 2010 in which 46 sailors were killed, but the North has denied responsibility.
South Korea patrolled the waters around the northern boundary line for decades after it was established by UN command at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War.
North Korea does not recognize the line and insists on a border that encroaches deeply on waters currently controlled by the South.