Posted : 2011-08-10 15:40
Updated : 2011-08-10 15:40

Seoul returns fire after NK shell falls near western sea border

South Korea fired three shots toward the tense western sea border after one North Korean shell apparently fell near there, the military here said Wednesday.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the South's Navy heard North Korea fire three artillery shots toward the Northern Limit Line (NLL) around 1 p.m. Wednesday, and then responded around 2 p.m. with three warning shots.

"We estimated that one North Korean shell dropped near the NLL," a JCS official said. "We haven't noticed any particular movements in the North Korean military but we're maintaining a defense posture."

The official said the North Korean shots appeared to have come from Yongmae Island, about 11 kilometers north of the NLL and some 20km northeast of Yeonpyeong Island. The South's warnings shots were launched from Yeonpyeong, the official said.

The official explained that the South took its time to assess the situation before firing warning shots.

"If we had sustained any damage or if the shots had landed near our vessel, then we would've responded immediately," the official said. "But the shot appeared to have fallen near the NLL, and we directed our warning shots toward the line."

Another JCS official said it was difficult to determine whether the North Korean shell had actually crossed the NLL because of the lack of visibility in the Yellow Sea.

Last November, North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong Island, killing two civilians and two Marines. It was the North's first attack aimed at South Korean territory since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, and its second deadly provocation against the South in 2010. In March, the North torpedoed the South Korean warship Cheonan in the Yellow Sea, killing 46 sailors aboard.

The NLL, which U.N. forces drew unilaterally at the end of the Korean War, has served as the de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas. They still remain technically in a state of war since the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The North has contested the legitimacy of the NLL in recent decades and has demanded that it be redrawn, a request that the South has rejected.

The two Koreas have engaged in three bloody naval skirmishes in waters near Yeonpyeong, most recently in 2009. (Yonhap)

관련 한글 기사

北 연평도 인근 해상포격..군 대응사격

북한군 연평도 인근 해상포격..군 대응사격
3발중 1발 NLL 넘은 것으로 추정..피해 없어

북한군이 10일 오후 서해 연평도 동북쪽 해상으로 포 사격을 가해 우리 군이 대응사격을 했다고 합동참모본부가 밝혔다.

합참 관계자는 "오늘 오후 1시께 북한 용매도 남쪽에서 북한군의 해안포 사격으로 추정되는 3발의 폭발음이 들렸다"면서 "그 중 1발이 북방한계선(NLL) 인근에 떨어진 것으로 추정하고 오후 2시께 K-9 3발을 대응사격했다"고 말했다.

우리 군은 대응사격 직후에 연평도 주민에게 대피 안내 방송을 했으며 우리 군과 주민의 피해는 없는 것으로 확인됐다.

용매도는 NLL에서 11km가량 떨어져 있으며 연평도와의 거리는 19km 정도다. 포탄이 떨어진 정확한 지점은 확인되지 않았다.

합참 관계자는 "서해상 시계가 1km에 불과하기 때문에 NLL을 넘었다는 것을 정확히 식별하기는 불가능하다"면서 "관측장비에 의해 NLL을 넘은 것으로 판단했다"고 말했다.

그는 "오후 1시25분께 국제상선통신망을 통해 경고통신을 하고 이후 대응수준을 정했다"면서 "함정 근처에 가해진 위협이면 즉각 조치했겠지만 NLL 선상까지만 왔기 때문에 우리도 NLL쪽으로 대응했다"고 설명했다.

현재 북한군의 사격훈련 기간인 것으로 추정되며 이에 대한 사전예고는 없었다고 이 관계자는 밝혔다.

정부 관계자는 "북한군이 실수로 사격한 것인지 의도적인 사격인지 의도를 파악하고 있다"고 말했다.

현재 북한군의 특이동향은 없으며 우리 군은 북한군의 동향을 예의주시하며 대비태세를 갖추고 있다고 군 관계자는 전했다. (연합)

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