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R.O.Korea Navy News



[June 15,1999]S-N Korean Warships Exchange Gunfire

    North Korean P-6 torpedo boat hit by South Korean warship. The 56-ton craft was introduced from the Soviet Union in 1961, sails at speed of 43 knots per hour.

    South and North Korean warships exchanged gunfire Tuesday in contested waters of the Yellow Sea only minutes before talks began to end the standoff, Seoul's Defense Ministry said.

    Col. Hwang Dong-kyu, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said three North Korean ships shot first and their fire was returned by at least some of the eight South Korean ships patrolling the area.

    ``One North Korean ship was hit and is sinking (in the area), but the other two returned to North Korean waters,'' Hwang said.

    One South Korean ship was hit by northern fire, but no casualties were reported, Hwang said. It was unclear whether there were any casualties aboard the North Korean ships.

    The shooting erupted only 40 minutes before generals of the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea sat down in the border village of Panmunjom to discuss the tense military standoff, now in its eighth day.

    North Korea agreed to the meeting after four of its patrol boats were rammed and briefly repelled by South Korean naval vessels in the first violent confrontation last Friday.

    Two North Korean patrol boats moved back into the disputed waters shortly after daybreak Tuesday, escorting about 20 fishing boats, the Defense Ministry said.

    They were later joined by three torpedo boats, which the ministry said began the shooting. It said the exchange of gunfire continued for about 10 minutes.
    (AP)

[June 14,1999]N.K. naval boats cross sea border again

    S.K patrol boat(left) chase after N.K boat.

    North Korean naval patrol boats crossed the maritime border in the West Sea again yesterday for the seventh consecutive day, confronting South Korean naval boats for hours before returning.

    The renewed intrusion took place while Pyongyang accepted an earlier proposal made by South Korea and the United Nations Command for a general-level officer meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss the series of incursions off the west coast.

    The UNC, which oversees a fragile truce between the two Koreas, said in a statement that North Korea agreed to the proposed border meeting, which will be convened tomorrow.

    "The North's message is viewed as a positive step," the UNC said, adding, "it remains in everyone's interest to reduce tension at this time." South Korean military sources cautiously predicted that it was a sign the Communist North would cease the maritime incursions.

    N.K. boat aim a gun at S.K. boat

    "But we have no idea what the Communists really have in mind," a Defense Ministry official said.

    North Korea rejected two previous proposals last week. The latest UNC proposal was delivered to the North Saturday through Panmunjom.

    When the UNC statement was released, four to seven North Korean patrol boats sailed in and out of the South Korean waters, escorting fishing boats to a rich crab-fishing zone near the island of Yonpyong, some 100km northwest of Seoul.

    At 6:20 a.m., four North Korean patrol boats began to violate the sea border, or the Northern Limit Line, and returned two hours later. At the time Pyongyang was notifying the UNC it was accepting a proposal for a border meeting.

    Then at 11 a.m., seven North Korean naval vessels intruded the sea border again, travelling up to 5km into the South Korean waters. They confronted the South Korean Navy for hours before returning back over the sea border. The United Nations imposed the NLL, which lies midway between the North Korean mainland and five South Korean islands, after the 1950-53 Korean War.

    The South Korean Navy dispatched a flotilla of combat ships to the area, but refrained from opening fire.

    An official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in Seoul said they had detected signs that ground-to-ship missiles from nearby North Korean shore bases were aimed at the South Korean patrol boats confronting that had confronted the North Korean vessel.

    A ministry official said South Korean patrol boats were ready to ram the intruding boats again to push them back to the North, as they did Friday. Pyongyang threatened to attack if the South Korean warships didn't withdraw from the area. South Korean troops were put on heightened alert, and soldiers' weekend leaves were canceled.

    A meeting of top South Korean military leaders who discussed the confrontation at the Defense Ministry followed the incursion.

    North Korea has contested the sea border since the late 1970s, sending fishing boats and naval ships into the zone 20 to 30 times a year. But when challenged by South Korean patrol boats, they usually withdrew quickly.

    North Korean warships have been sailing in and out of the area since Monday, escorting a fleet of fishing vessels. This time, however, they refused to leave for up to 18 hours, creating a tense standoff with South Korean warships.

    Meanwhile, South Korean fishermen in Yonpyong called the Defense Ministry and claimed that the North Koreans on the fishing boats were not fishermen, but trained agents and soldiers, a ministry official said. But he said he could not confirm the allegations immediately.
    [ Korea Herald News ]

[June 12,1999]South Korean naval ships butt intruding N.K. boats

    South Korean naval ships, without opening gunfire, hit four of six intruding North Korean vessels in the West Sea yesterday to force them retreat back to the North after the Communist boats violated the maritime border for fifth consecutive day, military officials in Seoul said.

    After the butting, the North Korean boats, which began to intrude the sea border Monday, retreated back to north of the border. The North Korean boats were located some 10 to 11 km south of the border, or the Northern Limit Line - in the South Korean waters when they ignored repeated warnings and were hit by South Korean naval ships, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

    South Korean naval ships followed the intruders till they crossed the maritime border back to the North at around 2:15 p.m.

    JCS spokesman Col. Hwang Dong-kyu warned that the South Korean forces "will use more resolute means if they (North Koreans) violate the NLL again."

    He explained that South Korean naval ships "hit the stern of the intruding boats, pushing them back to the North without opening fire. We hope it will end the confrontation and the border violation."

    The four North Korean vessel, ranging from 150 to 400 tons, were slightly damaged, and so were some South Korean naval ships in the bow, said the spokesman.

    The hitting took place between 11:40 a.m., some eight hours after the North Korean boats again crossed the border, and 12:10 p.m., and about 12 km west of a South Korean island of Yonpyong, which lies at the center of a rich crab-fishing zone. The NLL, the maritime extension of the Demilitarized Zone, was set up at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

    The South Korean forces' tough action came as North Korean naval boats ignored repeated warnings from South Korean Navy and stayed south of the maritime border for 10 to 18 hours a day since Monday.

    The action also followed Defense Minister Cho Song-tae's order Thursday to put all the South Korean troops on heightened vigilance as the North Korean naval vessel were continuing violation of the maritime border.

    The tough action was hailed by many South Korean citizens, a Defense Ministry official said.

    "The ministry was showered by calls from citizens who praised our action," he said.

    As the North Korean boats' occupation of the fishing zone continued, the South Korean forces turned from defensive to aggressive countermeasures Thursday.

    After Minister Cho ordered mass deployment of naval ships, the Navy sent a flotilla of destroyers, frigates, submarines and other combat ships to the Yonpyong area in a show of force, while Air Force fighter jets were on the alert to increase vigilance. Shore guns in the West Sea, attack helicopters and Special Warfare Command troops were also put on standby in case of armed provocation by the North.

    Earlier yesterday, the Defense Ministry vowed in a statement that Seoul will "defend the NLL at all cost and sacrifice," warning North Korea to call back the intruding naval boats immediately.

    "We cannot allow the incursion to continue endlessly and the violation must stop immediately," the statement said.

    It warned that the South Korean forces were ready for defense against any North Korean possible military action.

    But the ministry added it hoped to solve the incursion in a peaceful manner.

    The statement came after Minister Cho presided over an emergency meeting of top military officials at the Defense Ministry to discuss countermeasures against the repeated incursions.

    Cho also met Gen. John H. Tilelli, commander in chief of the United Nations Command, to discuss the confrontation.

    On Thursday, South Korea's top security officials met to discuss the incident and warned that if the intruding boats didn't return, "we will hold (Pyongyang) responsible for any consequences that can arise." They labeled the incursion a "very serious violation by North Korea of the Armistice Agreement."

    On Monday, the six North Korean boats guarding 15 to 30 fishing boats began to cross the NLL into the South Korean waters. They stayed south of the maritime border for hours and returned.

    South Korea at first tried to tone down the incursion, describing it as an unintentional, brief border-crossing.

    But since Tuesday, they resumed the violation everyday till yesterday, crossing the NLL early in the morning and returning late in the evening.

    Previously, North Korean naval boats, when crossing the NLL, returned immediately when South Korean naval ships warned them to.

    In February 1975, a flotilla of North Korean boats violated the NLL in the West Sea to incapacitate the maritime border.

    But they retreated after a South Korean destroyer hit their flagship and sank it south of the NLL.
    [ Korea Herald News ]

[June 11,1999]Korean troops put on heightened alert

Following repeated intrusions by N. Korean naval ships

North Korean naval vessels crossed the maritime border and intruded into the South Korean waters in the West Sea yesterday for a third time after briefly withdrawing, the Defense Ministry said.

Six Communist North Korean ships crossed the maritime border again at around 4:45 a.m., four hours and 30 minutes after six naval ships withdrew from the prohibited area, the ministry said.

Amid mounting friction, Defense Minister Cho Sung-tae called for heightened vigilance among all South Korean troops as of 2 p.m. yesterday.

A Defense Ministry official warned that South Korea "will sternly respond" in case of an armed provocation by the intruding North Korean ships, which stayed a few kilometers south of the maritime border.

The North Korean flotilla, like on Tuesday and Wednesday, refused to retreat despite loudspeaker warnings from South Korean naval ships.

South Korea dispatched eight patrol ships to the area, some 10 km west of Yonpyong Island and 100km northwest of Inchon. South Korean naval vessels, like in two previous incursions, raced around the area in a show of force. Destroyers and frigates were put 20km to 30km south of the area.

The North Korean vessels appeared to be protecting about 20 crab-fishing boats.

The official said the North Korean ships really began to intrude the maritime border Monday afternoon, when they briefly stayed south of the border called the Northern Limit Line (NLL).

"At that time, we didn't think it was serious. We thought the North Koreans would go back and not return," he said.

North Korean vessels cross the NLL 20 to 30 times a year, but return shortly after South Korean combat ships appear, according to the officer.

"But it is the first time that they refused to return to the North immediately and stayed south of the NLL for several hours and for three consecutive days," he said.

The NLL, a maritime extension of the Demilitarized Zone, has served as an effective means of preventing military tension between South and North Korea for decades and serves as a practical demarcation line.

The confrontation Wednesday lasted 18 hours, while the one on Tuesday lasted 11 hours. The last of six North Korean naval ships that crossed the maritime border on Wednesday returned to the North at 12:20 a.m. before four appeared again yesterday morning. During Wednesday's incursion, a North Korean boat hit a South Korean patrol ship, but no casualties were reported in the minor clash.

North Korea Wednesday rejected a proposal by South Korea and the United Nations Command for a Military Armistice Commission Secretariat meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss the series of incursions.

Military sources in Seoul noted that the North Korean incursion took place when South and North Korean vice-minister-level officials have agreed to meet on June 21 and when South Korea is providing food and fertilizer aid to the North, where people are suffering from widespread famine.

They said North Koreans intentionally provoked the incursion in a bid to nullify the NLL and create some tension to be used as leverage in the coming talks with South Korea and the United States.
[ Korea Herald News ]

[June 10,1999]Navy launches 8th Korean made submarine at Koje

The Navy launched its eighth domestically produced submarine yesterday at the Okpo shipyard of Daewoo Heavy Industries on the southern island of Koje.

The 1,200-ton diesel-powered submarine is equipped with Harpoon missiles, as well as torpedoes and mines.

The 209-class submarine was christened as "Nadaeyong," the 16th-century Naval officer who built the Turtle Ship that crushed the invading Japanese armada.

The sub has a maximum speed of 22knots (44km per hour), can conduct independent operations for two months, and is reinforced with specially-made Korean steel plates.

Daewoo is building the last of nine 209-class submarines under a Navy program expected to end next year.

The Navy is presently pushing for a new submarine program to acquire bigger and more powerful submarines.
[ Korea Herald News ]

[June 10,1999] South, North Korean navy boats collide as armed standoff renewed

    Six North Korean naval vessels crossed the border in the West Sea yesterday for the second time in as many days, and one of them hit a South Korean patrol boat, officials said.

    No casualties were reported in the minor collision and both sides refrained from gunfire, said the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul.

    Following the collision, the North Korean boats remained in the buffer zone, a few kilometers south of the sea border - also known as the "Northern Limit Line" - ignoring repeated warnings from South Korean boats which were racing around the area in a show of force.

    The South Korean navy barred South Korean fishing boats from the area and put four combat ships on standby at waters some 40km south of the buffer zone.

    The North Korean boats, which first intruded into the buffer zone at 1 p.m. and stayed till 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, ignored South Korean naval patrol boats' warnings, saying they were protecting North Korean crab-fishing boats, the JCS said.

    The Defense Ministry charged the incursion was an apparent violation of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, adding Pyongyang "should take all the responsibility for any results to be brought by the incursion."

    Last year, North Korean naval vessels briefly crossed the Northern Limit Line about 30 times, but returned immediately after warnings from South Korean naval boats.

    The stand-off began Tuesday after North Korean patrol boats crossed with several fishing boats into the off-limits neutral area, which lies in the heart of rich crab-fishing grounds, some 100km northwest of Inchon.

    The six North Korean vessels withdrew late Tuesday, but returned to the area at around 5:40 a.m. yesterday, escorting 15 crab-fishing boats.

    "Instead of using violence, we will continue urging them to return to the North," a JCS official said.

    The buffer zone, one-kilometer wide at its narrowest point and 15 kilometers at its widest point, was set up below the maritime border in 1953 at the end of the Korean War.

    North Korean vessels stray into the area around 30 times a year and South Korea traditionally refrains from using weapons during such incidents. However, the North Koreans rarely spend prolonged lengths of time in the area.

    Eight South Korean patrol boats rushed to the area on Tuesday to stop the North Korean vessels which were sailing south in single file.

    With his "Sunshine Policy," South Korean President Kim Dae-jung has been making concerted efforts to bring the rival Koreas closer together after more than 50 years of ideological division.

    The two sides agreed last week to resume long-stalled talks, which the South hopes will help open the door to cooperation and conciliation between the two Koreas.

    North Korea watchers in Seoul viewed the incursions as another example of Pyongyang's double-faced tactic toward South Korea. The incursion took place after South and North Korea, in a secret meeting in Beijing last week, agreed to hold vice-minister-level talks June 21. It also followed South Korean President Kim's visit to Russia and Mongolia, where he procured support from the two countries for his "Sunshine Policy" toward North Korea.

    "The hawks in the North, especially the military, always hates thaws between the two Koreas, and they may need a certain extent of tension to prove they are necessary," a Defense Ministry official said.

    Some tension is also needed for the North Korean hierarchy to rule and control their people who are suffering serious food shortages, he analyzed. He noted that North Korea received food and other aid from the South and other countries after it spy submarines and spy boats to the South last year.

    The incursions also followed a North Korean radio announcement Suwks in the North, especially the military, always hates thaws between the two Koreas, and they may need a certain extent of tension to prove they are necessary," a Defense Ministry official said.

    Some tension is also needed for the North Korean hierarchy to rule and control their people who are suffering serious food shortages, he analyzed. He noted that North Korea received food and other aid from the South and other countries after it spy submarines and spy boats to the South last year.

    The incursions also followed a North Korean radio announcem
    [Korea Herald News]

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Last Update : June 15 1999



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