DPRK sets naval firing zones along disputed sea border: S Korean gov't

15:50, February 19, 2010      

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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) designated six "naval firing zones" including areas near the disputed maritime border between DPRK and the South Koreas, and notified South Korea of the move, a government-run research institute said Friday.

"North Korea (the DPRK) unilaterally notified (South Korea) through Navtex fax service of its designation," Seoul's National Oceanographic Research Institute said.

The DPRK said it will conduct three-day fire drills starting Saturday in waters off the west coast near the contentious sea border, called Northern Limit Line (NLL), and also in two areas in the east sea, according to the institute.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) confirmed the news, saying the military is keeping close tabs on the development.

"But the areas to be affected by the designation would be north of the NLL, which isn't South Korean waters," an official at the JCS told Xinhua.

The move comes in less than a month after tensions abruptly rose on the Korean peninsula following the DPRK's repeated firing of artillery shells into waters near the de facto border Pyongyang refuses to acknowledge.

The contentious border, where the latest naval skirmish between the two sides took place in November last year, was fixed unilaterally by the U.S.-led United Nations Command after the 1950- 1953 Korean War.

Source: Xinhua
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