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“North’s Vessel Invading NLL” Turns Out to be False Report

“North’s Vessel Invading NLL” Turns Out to be False Report

Posted July. 16, 2004 22:05,   


It was learned that on July 14, the navy fired warning shots at a North Korean patrol boat, which had invaded North Limit Line (NLL), and sent radio messages explaining the situation, without reporting to the ruling office.

Moreover, controversy arose as it was found that North Korea had informed the navy that the ship wasn’t theirs, but instead was a Chinese fishing boat.

After being reported of the incident through the standing committee of the National Security Council on July 16, President Roh directed Cho Young-gil, minister of National Defense, to investigate the situation thoroughly.

In an urgent press briefing, Nam Dae-youn, information officer of the Ministry of National Defense (MND), reported, “We received a message from North Korea yesterday afternoon saying that although the North had sent the message, the South did not respond to it.”

According to the MND, it was informed on July 14 that a North Korean naval vessel had sent a message saying, “The boat sailing south currently doesn’t belong to the North, but instead to China” three times, and it was clear that the South’s vessel had received them.

The MND had previous reported on July 14, “A North Korean patrol boat invaded the NLL. Our vessel fired two warning shots at the boat after warning them three times. The North did not respond, and they retreated after 14 minutes.”

Information Officer Nam said, “According to what has been discovered by now, the headquarters of the Second Fleet had reported the North’s radio message to the naval headquarters. However, they omitted their report to the joint chiefs of staff.”

Nam added, “MND apologizes for the situation and will report the result as soon as the investigation is over.”

MND has hurriedly sent a joint inspection team, led by Major General Park Jung-jo, with members from the MND and the National Intelligence Service to the Second Fleet and started an investigation. The MND plans to reprimand those involved as soon as the investigation is over.

According to reports, the North Korean patrol boat was about six miles away from the South Korean vessel. However, the weather wasn’t very good, so visibility was limited to only three miles. Therefore, the possibility that the South’s vessel had misjudged a Chinese fishing boat as a North Korean patrol boat is now being raised within the army.

It is forecasted that the North will lodge a protest with the South against this incident at the working-level talks of the North-South Military Conference on July 19.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com