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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Koreas trade fresh war of words
South Korean military officers listen to briefing on the deadly naval clash with the North
The South's navy is still smarting from last month's clash
The North Korean navy has accused the South of infiltrating two warships into Northern waters, intensifying tensions between the two after a naval battle nine days ago.


We warn that the infiltration of the combat warships is a dangerous act which may spark a new armed clash

North Korean news agency KCNA
North Korean said the vessels had been sent across the disputed maritime border, known as the Northern Limit Line, not far from where the two navies clashed on 29 June.

The South Korean navy has described the allegation as "totally fabricated", saying its ships had been on a routine naval exercise and had stayed well inside their own waters.

The South Korean public is still reeling from the naval battle, which resulted in the deaths of four South Korean sailors and an unknown number of North Koreans.


Northern Limit Line
  • Declared by UN in 1953
  • Not officially recognised by North
  • Regularly breached by North's navy
    See also:

  • Threats

    Tensions between the two rivals have now risen further, with North Korea issuing a statement late on Sunday night accusing the South of trespassing and warning that another sea battle could follow.

    "We warn that the infiltration of the combat warships is a dangerous act which may spark a new armed clash," the official KCNA news agency said.

    The South Korean navy denied the accusation and warned the North that it would pay if it crossed the sea border, known as the Northern Limit Line (NLL).

    The intensifying brinkmanship can only add to South Korea's public anger over the naval clash.

    The battle, and the admission by the South's military that it badly handled the North's incursion, has already created a backlash against South Korean President Kim Dae-jung's government.

    Smoke pours from a patrol ship after the battle
    The clash caused a number of deaths
    An inquiry into the clash has found that the South Korean navy could have responded faster.

    South Korean newspapers now say that Defence Minister Kim Dong-shin could be a casualty in Mr Dae-jung's cabinet reshuffle which is due to be finalised next week.


    Nuclear tensions

    Inside North Korea

    Divided peninsula

    TALKING POINT
    See also:

    05 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
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    02 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
    20 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
    29 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
    07 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
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