South Korea regularly confronts Chinese ships crossing the disputed Northern Limit Line off South Korea’s western coast. Yet the situation escalated further yesterday after the South Korean navy fired several warning shots at a Chinese vessel. Reuters:
China said on Wednesday it had asked South Korea to ensure the safety of Chinese ships after South Korea’s navy fired warning shots at a Chinese vessel which crossed into waters disputed by North and South Korea.
The South Korean navy told Yonhap news agency it had fired 10 warning shots at a Chinese boat which it said crossed the Northern Limit Line – a disputed inter-Korean maritime border on the west coast.
The ship was initially thought to be North Korean, but was later identified as Chinese, according to Yonhap.
“We are concerned about the relevant situation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.
Relations between South Korea and China have been warming lately, with South Korea President Park Geun-hye making high-profile appearances in Beijing and with Seoul hosting a trilateral summit with China and Japan. But, as we’ve reported, South Korea and China have a lot to work through before their relationship can fundamentally change.
More broadly, this flare-up—which will likely cool off this time—highlights yet another Asian maritime territorial dispute worth watching.