South Korea's navy fired warning shots today toward North Korean fishing boats that crossed a disputed maritime boundary, but the shots didn't hit the fishing boats and the vessels retreated, a South Korean official says. No North Korean navy ships were involved in the incident along a tense western sea boundary that the North has long refused to recognize. Six North Korean fishing boats crossed the boundary and refused to return until the South Korean Navy fired the warning shots.
Fishing boats routinely jostle for position in the seafood-rich Yellow Sea waters claimed by both countries during crab-catching season, which is now in high gear. Three deadly naval clashes since 1999 have taken a few dozen lives. The disputed sea boundary is not clearly marked, and incursions by North Korean military and fishing boats are not unusual. North Korean fishing boats already crossed the boundary four times earlier this month but retreated each time after being warned by the South. Seoul says North Korean fishing boats also crossed the boundary in April.