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South Korea, Japan End Maritime Standoff

Posted June. 03, 2005 06:50,   


The South Korean and Japanese coast guards ended their 33-hour maritime standoff off the coast of the southeastern port city of Ulsan at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.

The standoff over the Shinpung-ho, a 77-ton eel-fishing boat that briefly crossed into Japanese territorial waters the previous day, was released after negotiations between the South Korean and the Japanese governments.

Japan agreed to withdraw its patrol boats while South Korea agreed to investigate the charges against the captain (Jung Wuk-hyun, 38) of the fishing boat under Korean law.

The captain wrote a report that he admitted that the boat was fishing in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and fled to the Korean EEZ. The owner of the boat gave Japan a written guarantee that the fishing boat would pay 500,000 yen (4.8 million won) as a guarantee that it would not violate Japanese laws in the future.

The guarantee is due to the noncompliance of the order from a Japanese patrol boat irrespective of the illegal fishing, and it is a symbolic admission of Japanese jurisdiction of the territorial waters, said a Korean official.

After having the confrontation off the coast, 16 miles (25.6 km) from the southeastern port city of Kanjeol-kot, Ulsan-si, South Korean patrol boats and 13 Japanese patrol boats withdrew to their respective sides at 5:00 p.m., right after the report and the guarantee were passed to Japan.

President Roh Moo-hyun said in the morning that “the incident should be solved in a rational way with respect to each other’s sovereignty and interests. In the course of negotiations, caution should be exercised as to not to cause emotional conflict between the two sides.”