PYONGYANG, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Saturday lashed out at South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's pledge to defend the Northern Limit Line (NLL).
The "ghostlike line" is a "root cause of confrontation and conflict" between the two sides, a spokesperson for the DPRK's Policy Department of the National Defense Commission was quoted by official news agency KCNA as saying.
"Only the maritime military demarcation line set by the DPRK, not the Northern Limit Line (NLL), will remain in the west Yellow Sea till the nation is reunified," added the spokesperson.
The statement came after Lee's surprise visit on Thursday to Yonphyong island near the tense sea border, where he called upon service members to stake their own lives if necessary to safeguard the NLL.
The NLL was drawn unilaterally by the U.S.-led UN Command at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The DPRK refuses to acknowledge the line and demands a new border be drawn further south.
The disputed demarcation line has long been a focal point of tensions between the two sides. An exchange of artillery fire in the Yonphyong area in late 2010 left four South Koreans killed and 16 others injured.