South Korea’s army has fired warning shots at a North Korean patrol boat amid increased tensions following Kim Jong Un’s latest missile launch.
It happened around 11am local Saturday time, only two days after Pyongyang released a new Hwasong-18 missile which sparked an alarm in the northern Japan.
After temporarily crossing the disputed western sea border, drawn up by UN after the Korean War of 1953, the North Korean vessel was attacked by its neighbouring forces.
The boat was at first chasing a Chinese fisherman near Baekryeong Island, South Korea . But it quickly retreated.
Poor visibility caused the South’s high speed vessel to collide into the fishing boat. Some of the troops aboard suffered minor injuries.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff downplayed this collision and stated that the military will remain alert to any “potential provocation” from the North.
It added: “Our military maintains a decisive battle position while monitoring the movements of the enemy.”
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In recent weeks, Seoul and the US have held major joint military exercises – their largest in years to dissuade its neighbour’s increasingly provocative weapon testing programme.
A second exercise, which will involve 110 warplanes, will start on Monday and run until the 28th of April.
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North Korea, on the other hand, claims that its Hwasong-18 missile – an intercontinental balistic missile capable of targeting mainland America – will “radically enhance” the country’s capability to counterattack nuclear attacks.
Kim, the leader of North Korea, is believed to have “guided’ this week’s missile test. Since the beginning of 2022, his regime has fired more than 100 missiles in the sea. However, the latest test was said to pose no threat to neighbouring nations.
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The incident occurred amid concerns that the North had not responded to South’s calls on a series of hotlines designed to prevent accidents like the Saturday incident for more than one week.
The North does not recognise the UN border that is poorly marked, and argues it should be further south.
In 2010, the South accused the North of an attack on a ship that killed 46 soldiers.