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North Ships Ignore Coast Guard Hails

Posted October. 30, 2006 07:03,   


North Korean ships which have entered South Korean territorial waters according to the Inter-Korean agreement on maritime transport have been reportedly confirmed to have ignored 22 inspection calls from the South Korean Maritime Police this year alone.

Article 3 Paragraph 1 of the Inter-Korean Maritime Transport Agreement effective August 2005 prescribes that ‘ships on a voyage shall respond to calls from patrol ships and communication posts of the other party’ and Article 2 Paragraph 8 in the annexed agreement states that, “If a ship does not reply to communication calls, the other party may go on board and search the ship whether the ship breaches this agreement.”

Nevertheless, the Maritime Police have neither ordered to stop the North Korean ships that apparently violated the agreement nor tried to go on board and inspect the suspicious ships. Furthermore, it has not tried to discuss the issue with the National Information Service or the Ministry of Unification so far.

According to the reports on ‘communications between the South Korean maritime police and North Korean ships’ that Maritime Police on October 29 submitted to Kim Hyeong-oh (GNP), a member of the National Assembly’s Agriculture, Forestry, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Committee, North Korean ships have passed through our territorial waters, neglecting maritime police’s inspection calls as many as 22 times this year alone, including the North Korean ship Yeonpung, which on February 2 passed through the Jeju Straits without responding to the calls from South Korean maritime police ship, Jeju 302.

Claiming that Inter-Korean Maritime Agreement is enough to prevent the possible proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction, the government has refused the calls to find a way to implement the cargo inspection clause that the U.N. Security Council adopted in the resolution on North Korea and to partake more actively in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

However, the government’s complacent response to the suspicious North Korean ships is likely to spark controversy, given that the government in fact has let the uncooperative North Korean ships untouched so far, and has not attempted to inspect those ships in accordance with the Inter-Korean agreement on Maritime transport.