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S Korea, DPRK clash off west coast
Latest Updated at 2009-November-11 08:57:45
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銆銆Lee Ki-sik, a senior officer of the navy of the South Korea speaks to reporters at a press conference in Seoul, capital of South Korea, Nov 10, 2009. South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) clashed in naval coast off west coast of the peninsula Tuesday morning. (Xinhua/Newsis)

South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) clashed in naval coast off west coast of the peninsula Tuesday morning (Nov 10), but no casualties were reported. The two sides blamed each other for the clash.

One DPRK patrol ship crossed Northern Limit Line (NLL), which South Korea claims as a de-facto inter-Korean border, and sailed 1.2 miles into the South Korean waters around local time 11:27 a.m. (0227 GMT), Lee Ki-shik, general of the South Korean Navy, said at a press briefing held by the Ministry of Defense.

The South Korean Navy responded by sounding warnings, twice before the vessel crossed the NLL, and three times afterwards, Lee said.

As the DPRK vessel ignored the warnings that lasted about 10 minutes, the South Korean Navy fired warning shots, which the DPRK countered by firing shots aimed directly at the South Korean vessels, according to Lee.

The battle lasted about 2 minutes, leaving 15 holes on the South Korean patrol boat that engaged in the skirmish, said Lee.

"No casualty has been reported on the South Korean side, and the North Korean (DPRK) vessel returned back to North Korea (DPRK) after getting half-destructed during the battle," local media said, quoting South Korea's Joint Chief of Staff (JCS).

The DPRK on Tuesday demanded that South Korea apologize for the clash, said a report issued by the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army.

The report said the South Korean military authorities should "make an apology" to the DPRK and "take responsible measures against the recurrence of a similar provocation," the official news agency KCNA said.

The report called the clash an "armed provocation" and said it was "perpetrated by the South Korean forces" in the waters of "the north side" off the west coast of the peninsula, but refrained from mentioning whether there were any casualties.

According to the report's version of the clash, the DPRK cleared a navy patrol boat, which was "on routine guard", to go to confirm an unidentified object that "intruded into the waters of its side." When the patrol boat was returning after confirming the object at about 11:20 a.m., "a group of South Korean warship forces chased and fired at it."

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday convened an emergency meeting to discuss with security-related ministers on the naval clash with the DPRK, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

During the meeting held upon receiving the report of the clash, Lee instructed the military to react decisively but also remain calm to make sure the situation does not develop to worse, Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.

The meeting mainly focused on the impact the naval clash will leave on relations between Seoul and Pyongyang, it added.

The DPRK and South Korea have clashed near the NLL area twice previously, in June 1999 and November 2004.

Editor: Miranda

By: Source: China View website

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