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North Korean Ship Seized By South In Tense Encounter, Warning Shots Fired

(Photo by - / POOL / AFP) (Photo by -/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe Commentary Writer
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A South Korean naval ship seized a North Korean boat along with seven North Korean crew members Tuesday.

The North Korean patrol boat crossed the Northern Limit Line around 9:30 a.m. local time, according to comments provided to Stars and Stripes from a South Korean military official. The North Koreans were sailing too close to Baekryeong Island, violating the maritime boundary between the two countries, the outlet noted.

The North Korean patrol boat appeared to be chasing a vessel that had crossed the border 15 minutes earlier, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday, according to Stars and Stripes. (RELATED: North Korea Launches Missiles For Third Time In A Month)

The South Korea ship fired warning shots at a patrol boat as it entered into contested waters to the western side of the Korean peninsula, according to the Wall Street Journal. A second North Korean boat was then seized by the South with seven crew members aboard. All but one of the crew members were wearing military uniforms, the New York Post reported.

Though it is unclear why the patrol boat was chasing the second vessel, the seven crew members found aboard the boat were unarmed, and made the crossing by accident, according to the Post. South Korea’s policy is to return North Korean sailors to Pyongyang’s territory unless they wish to defect, but when questioned, the crew claimed they had not intended to defect.