South Korea Fires Warning Shots as N. Korean Ships Enter Waters

(Bloomberg) — South Korea said its naval forces fired warning shots last night to drive away North Korean patrol ships that had crossed the western sea border between the two nations.

Two North Korean ships entered South Korean waters separately between 10 p.m. and midnight, said an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul. The first ship retreated after being warned off by radio and the second retired after a couple of warning shots were fired, said the official, who declined to be named because of military policy.

North Korean ships ventured into South Korea’s waters for the first time since the March 26 sinking of a South Korean naval warship in the area. North Korea doesn’t recognize the western sea border demarcated by the United Nations after the Korean War, and the dispute caused skirmishes between the two in 1999, 2002 and November last year.

Tensions flared anew on the Korean peninsula after the March sinking, which claimed lives of 46 South Korean sailors. South Korea has said a torpedo probably sank the 1,200-ton Cheonan, indicating possible North Korean responsibility for the incident.

North Korea on April 17 denied it was responsible for the sinking. The two nations remain technically at war because the 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce and no peace treaty has been concluded.