Wednesday, November 03, 2010

SKorea fires warning shots

SEOUL - SOUTH Korea's navy fired warning shots to chase away a North Korean fishing boat that crossed their disputed sea border early on Wednesday, the Defence Ministry said, in the latest flareup of tension on the divided peninsula just days before the Group of 20 summit in Seoul.

The North Korean boat intruded on South Korean territory for about two hours before returning to North Korean waters early Wednesday, the ministry said. The fertile maritime border, the scene of three deadly skirmishes between the Koreas, is a key flashpoint because the North does not recognise the line drawn by the UN at the close of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The firing comes just days after North Korea shot two rounds at a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarised Zone, prompting return fire from South Korean troops, according to Seoul military officials.

South Korea is bracing for any possible North Korean moves to sabotage next week's Group of 20 summit of world leaders. North Korea has a track record of provocations when world attention is focused on the rival South.

In 1987, a year before the Seoul Olympics, North Korean agents planted a bomb on a South Korean plane, killing all 115 people on board. In 2002, when South Korea jointly hosted soccer's World Cup along with Japan, a North Korean naval boat sank a South Korean patrol vessel near the sea border.

President Lee Myung-bak said Wednesday that he does not believe Pyongyang would strike South Korea but that Seoul was ready for anything. -- AP