Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FINAL UPDATE at 1:18 AM EST -- 3:32 PM Korean Time

A bit of clarification and scope -- it appears that North Korea fired approximately 30 heavy artillery shells into the region around the NLL. They have also banned all maritime activity on their western coast. South Korea responded by firing 100 "warning shots" into the region.

UPDATE at 11:32 PM EST -- 1:32 PM Korean Time
As of now, it appears that there is all quiet in the NLL (northern limit line) in the Western Sea Zone. However, today's salvos of heavy artillery into the region are the most recent escalation involving the contested maritime border between North and South Korea. Here is the relevant timeline:


March 29, 2009 -- North Korea Declares 2 "No Sail/No Fly" Zones in the long-contested Western sea border between North and South Korea

November 10, 2009 -- A South Korean Patrol Ship opened fire on a North Korean naval vessel that had crossed the NLL (northern limit line), exchanging fire with that vessel, killing one North Korean sailor, wounding 3.

November 16, 2009 -- South Korea evacuates naval ships from the Western sea after detecting signs that North Korea had activated radar for surface to ship missiles deployed on the Ongjin Peninsula, Hwanghai Province, and had painted South Korean ships.

December 22, 2009 -- North Korea declared a "peacetime firing zone" along both sides of the NLL, to counter "the reckless military provocative manoeuvres by the warmongers in the South Korean military." warning of the deployment of both land based artillery and land to sea missiles.

January 25, 2010 -- North Korea unilaterally announced a shipping ban on both sides of the NLL, specifically in the region of east of the island of Baeknyeong and and west of the island of Daechyong, both locations of South Korean Naval and Marine Bases.

TODAY -- North Korea opened fire with land based artillery into the contested maritime border region, an action that was met with retaliatory "warning shots" fired by South Korean forces.

For D&D Snap Analysis of this new escalation of the Korean Maritime Crisis, read below!

UPDATE at 10:12 PM EST -- 12:12 PM Korean Time
As more news is rolling in, it appears that North Korea has fired multiple land based artillery rounds into the Western sea, a committal act that was met with South Korean retaliatory "warning shots" fired into the same maritime region. First reports from anonymous sources in the South Korean Defense Ministry are that there was no damage or casualties.

D&D SNAP ANALYSIS:
This event, coupled with the recent naval battle in the same region on the North/South Korean maritime border seems to suggest that North Korea has become increasingly sensitive about South Korean forces in the region, as both exchanges of fire have been instigated by North Korean forces reacting to South Korea's presence near the zone. On March 29, Pyongyang announced 2 "No Sail" zones in the Western sea, part of which included South Korean territorial waters -- suggesting that they may be preparing for possible missile tests in the area. Time will tell.


Check back soon for further news and analysis.

Previous Post Follows:
The AP and Yonhap News is reporting an exchange of heavy artillery fire between North and South Korean Forces along their disputed western sea border, the same region that witnessed the recent bloody gun battle between North and South Korean naval vessels.

The AP story can be found HERE

Check back soon for updates and analysis

3 comments:

Jeff Schneider said...

We here at D&D are monitoring this event very closely, and will be updating the blog as soon as more news comes in. This is a particularly worrying event as it may represent an escalation in the crisis in the western sea of both Koreas.

Chris said...

Can you provide some info on what exactly makes this different from the other times that the two Koreas have exchanged fire? Or is the DPRK regime so unpredictable that any exchange of fire could be the opening salvo of something more?

Jeff Schneider said...

Its a very valid point here Chris -- I suppose that its the pattern here that is most worrying. This is not an isolated incident, and it occurs in an area rife with a long history of conflict. The NLL is long contested, and those contests have often involed live munitions. However, there is a clear pattern of escalation, and I worry this may be setting the stage for possible further escalation with North Korean missile tests in the coming months.

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