The navies of the two Koreas briefly exchanged fire on Tuesday. The two sides gave differing versions of the first such clash in nearly seven years in an often-tense relationship.
South Korea said there were no casualties on its side when its naval vessel retaliated after a North Korean patrol boat crossed the Northern Limit Line, virtually the maritime boundary since the end of 1950-53 Korean War.
A top South Korean naval officer was quoted as saying to journalists in Seoul the trespassing North Korean boat “directly aimed” fire at the South Korean patrol boat. This led to a two-minute skirmish. Later, South Korean Prime Minister Chun Un-chan said in a televised intervention in Parliament that the retreating North Korean naval vessel was seen “wrapped in flames”.
As monitored in Seoul, Pyongyang’s state news agency reported that several South Korean warships had crossed the Line and attacked a North Korean naval boat that was returning to port after completing a routine patrolling task. But, the “combat-ready” vessel of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea dealt a “retaliatory blow” at the South Korean warships.