North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

NK Patrol Boats Cross NLL

Graphic: JoongAng Ilbo

Yonhap reports that two North Korean patrol boats crossed the Northern Limit Line Saturday, in two separate incidents.

Two North Korean patrol boats crossed into South Korean waters in separate incidences on Saturday night but retreated after the South Korean Navy fired warning shots, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) said Sunday.

According to JSC officials, a North Korean naval boat crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea at 10:13 p.m. Saturday and came about 2.2 kilometers into South Korean waters. The North Korean boat sailed back to the North 30 minutes later after receiving a warning communication from the South Korean Navy, they said.

But another North Korean patrol boat violated the western sea border about 47 minutes later at 11:30 p.m., sailing about 2.1 km into South Korean waters, they said. The second boat from the North retreated nine minutes later after the South fired two rounds of warning shots, they added.

It is the first time that a North Korean naval vessel has violated the NLL since the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, near the western sea border on March 26.

The NLL, the de facto maritime border between the two Koreas, was drawn by a U.S. commander at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended without a formal peace treaty. North Korea claims the line should be drawn farther south.

“There seemed to be no particular reason behind North Korea’s latest maritime border violations, as the North’s patrol boats have frequently violated the NLL in the past,” said a military official in Seoul.

JoongAng details the location of the two incidents:

The North Korean boat continued to descend and crossed the Northern Limit Line at 10:13 p.m. despite repeated warnings, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After staying in South Korean waters for about 30 minutes, the ship went back at 10:43 p.m., the military said.

Another North Korean patrol boat, according to the military, crossed the border at 11:30 p.m., despite the South Korean Navy’s warnings. After a second warning was sent, the South Korean Navy fired two warning shots and the North Korean ship retreated at 11:39 p.m., the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The two border violations took place about 15.75 kilometers (9.8 miles) northwest of Baengnyeong Island, the military said. It was the first western maritime border violation by the North since the South Korean Navy warship Cheonan sank in nearby waters on March 26.

An affiliate of 38 North