SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- A patrol ship from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) sailed south in western waters, violating the disputed inter-Korean maritime border Monday night when annual war games between Seoul and Washington began, the South Korean Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a press briefing that a DPRK patrol vessel violated the Northern Limit Line (NLL) three times from 10:56 p.m. local time Monday and sailed in waters 13 nautical miles (23.4 km) west of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island.
The vessel returned to its territorial waters at around 2:25 a. m. Tuesday after the South Korean navy ship warned of strong actions against the violation, Kim said.
The NLL was drawn by the U.S.-led United Nations Command after the 1950-53 Korean War ended, and the DPRK has rejected it as the legitimate border line.
Monday night's incident was the first maritime border violation by DPRK ships in around six months. The DPRK violated the disputed three times last year.
Kim said that given the DPRK vessel's sailing pattern, the violation was seen as intended, noting the ship stayed in the South Korean territorial waters for around two hours and sailed northward slowly despite the military's strong warning.
It was seen as part of the DPRK's military exercises or inspection to test the South Korean navy's reaction to the violation, Kim added.
The incident occurred after South Korea and the United States began their two annual war games, which the DPRK had called for to be delayed or canceled.
The "Key Resolve" command post exercise and the "Foal Eagle" field training exercise kicked off Monday morning, calling in more than 6,000 American forces to the Korean Peninsula.
Amid thawing signs of inter-Korean relations, it was reported that the U.S. military would deploy no nuclear-capable bombers or aircraft carriers during this year's drills.
The two Koreas just ended a six-day reunion of families separated by the Korean War in the DPRK's scenic Mount Kumgang resort where hundreds of Koreans met their long-lost relatives for the first time in six decades.
S.Korea to prepare for reunification with DPRK
SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday that she will set up a presidential advisory body to prepare for reunification with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Park made the remarks at her press conference marking the first anniversary of her inauguration at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae. Full story