Koreas Clash at Sea
Heated naval combat occurred yesterday after a North Korean provocation, according to the Korea Times:
At around 10:30 a.m., the North Korean boat crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL), and ignoring repeated warnings, he said.
In response to a South Korean patrol boat firing warning shots ― in accordance to the rules of engagement ― at 10:36 a.m. the North returned fire directly at the vessel, said JCS spokesman Kim Young-chul.
Kim said some 15 rounds hit the side of the South Korean boat without causing any serious damage or causalities.
The South fired back, causing the North Korean vessel to retreat toward northern waters at 10:40 a.m. badly damaged and engulfed in flames, he said.
The latest incident came amid expectations that Pyongyang and Washington may soon engage in direct talks.
There were no S Korean casualties, but we are assuming there were in the heavily damaged Northern boat.
The DailyNK has further details:
The Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters in a press briefing this afternoon that the North Korean patrol vessel crossed the NLL at 11:27AM at a point 11.3 kilometers off the east coast of Daecheong Island, which lies in South Korean territorial waters just 2.2 kilometers from North Korea on the west side of the peninsula.
According to the briefing, the South Koreans broadcast two warning messages between 11:22 and 11:25. However, the North’s vessel continued to advance southwards and so, between 11:28 and 11:31, two more messages were sent, instructing the North Koreans that, “Your vessel is continuing to violate our border despite our warnings, and this is causing tensions to rise. If you do not change course, we will open fire.”
The North Korean vessel apparently did not change direction, so at 11:36 the South Korean naval vessel fired warning shots across its bow.
At 11:37, the North fired approximately 50 shots at the South Korean vessel, and the South simultaneously returned fire with around 100 shots from a 40mm cannon.
The battle lasted for approximately two minutes, until the North Korean patrol vessel went back across the NLL at 11:40 after suffering “considerable” damage.
The two Koreas have engaged in bloodier clashes, the last in 2002 where 19 died on both sides. A Navy source also revealed “About 15 holes were found on the South Korean patrol boat that engaged in a skirmish with a North Korean vessel on Tuesday“.
According to Global Firepower, the North Korean Navy is the third largest in the world in terms of numbers, including about 500 small coastal craft, nearly 100 submarines and 100 other vessels. The South Koreans possess 75 coastal craft but also several powerful surface combatants and large amphibious ships.