Py­ongyang re­acts to naval en­counter

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS -

North Korea yesterday threat­ened to fire at South Korean war­ships if they cross into its wa­ters, a day af­ter the South’s navy fired warn­ing shots to chase away two North Korean ships that briefly crossed a dis­puted western sea bound­ary.

In a state­ment re­leased through state me­dia, the Gen­eral Staff of North Korea’s Korean Peo­ple’s Army (KPA) called the South’s action a “reck­less mil­i­tary provo­ca­tion” meant to kill the chances for di­a­logue be­tween the coun­tries. The KPA said that the North Korean ships were un­armed and within the North’s sea ter­ri­tory when “many armed ships” from the South ap­proached them and fired with­out warn­ing.

The South had said one navy ship is­sued an au­di­ble warn­ing be­fore fir­ing five rounds of warn­ing shots to re­pel a North Korean mil­i­tary ves­sel and a fish­ing boat that briefly crossed into South Korea-con­trolled wa­ters on Fri­day morn­ing.

The KPA said it will di­rectly fire with­out warn­ing at South Korean war­ships if they in­trude into the North’s wa­ters by “even 0.001mm”.

“This reck­less mil­i­tary provo­ca­tion was ev­i­dently prompted by a pre­med­i­tated sin­is­ter plot to be­devil the North-South re­la­tions and fur­ther ag­gra­vate the ten­sion on the Korean Penin­sula,” the KPA said.

The South had also fired warn­ing shots af­ter a North Korean pa­trol boat moved south of the bound­ary in Fe­bru­ary. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff re­leased a state­ment say­ing the coun­try’s mil­i­tary fol­lowed proper pro­ce­dures to chase away the North Korean ships and called the KPA’s claim of the re­sponse be­ing a mil­i­tary provo­ca­tion “ridicu­lous”.

Since North Korea held a rare rul­ing party congress ear­lier this month, it has been de­mand­ing the South ac­cept its calls to re­sume talks af­ter months of an­i­mosi­ties touched off by Py­ongyang’s nu­clear test in Jan­uary and long-range rocket launch in Fe­bru­ary. South Korea has re­jected the over­ture, say­ing the North must show tan­gi­ble com­mit­ment to nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment first.

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