A real sea battle took place in the Yellow Sea today between the vessels of South and North Koreas. A NKorean boat was severely damaged in the clash.
Officials of the two countries describe the conflict differently. An anonymous SKorean politician said that a NKorean patrol ship had entered the territorial waters of South Korea and continued traveling to the south.
A SKorean navy vessel fired a warning shot, but the transgressor did not change its route. The South’s navy opened fire. The North’s patrol boat responded with fire too.
As a result, the NKorean boat turned back after it had been severely damaged. It is not known whether there were any victims on board the patrol boat. The South’s vessel was not damaged at all.
It is not the first incident in the area of the sea border between the two Korea. A similar battle took place on June 29, 2002, but the previous battle ended with several people killed in injured on either side.
The most recent clash can not be referred to as purely incidental. The North Korean administration refuses to acknowledge the sea border and persistently violates it. Therefore, there is nothing surprising about the North Korean boat traveling too far south.
The clash took place against the background of the recent events connected with the North Korean nuclear program. The North’s administration seems to have agreed for both the direct dialogue with the United States and the six-sided talks. Nevertheless, Pyongyang officials claim that the nation will not refuse from the development of the nuclear program.
In North Korea, the opinions about the recent sea battle are completely different. The North accused the South of provocations. Pyongyang stated that its patrol boat had been subjected to a groundless attack from a South Korean naval vessel.
Moreover, the North believes that it was the South that violated the sea border. As for the NKorean boat, it was conducting an “object identification mission.”
North Korean officials also said that the South’s vessel turned back immediately after the North Korean boat opened reprisal fire. North Korea demanded its neighbor should present official apologies for the armed provocation.
Konstantin Sivkov, a senior expert with the Academy for Geopolitical Problems, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that there was nothing special about the whole incident.
“Indeed, there is nothing special about the clash. Vessels belonging to some countries may often appear in territorial waters of other countries – it happens regularly. However, the situation near the Korean Peninsula is very complicated. The armed clash may lead to negative consequences for the talks about the North Korean nuclear program.
“Even if a North Korean boat found itself in South Korea’s territorial waters, there is nothing criminal about it. US vessels, for example, continuously violate many sea borders all over the world. Many US vessels were entering Russia’s waters during the 1990s.
“Most likely, US and Japanese officials will state that North Korea demonstrated aggressiveness. The North’s self-defense will be perceived as a reason to develop more highly technological arms, including nuclear arms. The talks about the nuclear program may eventually be ruined. One needs to acknowledge that it is the USA, not North Korea that has been extremely aggressive on the Korean Peninsula,” the expert concluded.