(AP) Three North Korean boats crossed into South Korean waters Friday, but retreated after the South’s navy speedboats fired warning shots, South Korea said. It was not immediately known whether the North Korean boats were military or civilian.
The South Korean navy said it spotted one North Korean vessel pulling two other boats. The vessels crossed half a mile into Southern waters off the western coast around 2:30 p.m., said an official at the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. South Korean speedboats broadcast loudspeaker warnings to retreat, but the Northern boats did not do so until the speedboats fired five machine-gun rounds and four 40mm shells, the official said on condition of anonymity. In May, South Korea said North Korean fishing boats illegally crossed into its waters repeatedly for several days, and there have been several incidents since. Seoul is studying whether the violations were part of a North Korean attempt to escalate tensions and gain leverage in talks with the United States over its nuclear ambitions.