A South Korean naval vessel fired five shots as a warning to a North Korean patrol boat that briefly moved south of the countries’ disputed boundary line in the Yellow Sea, Seoul’s defense ministry said Monday.
A South Korean military official told the Yonhap news agency that the North Korean vessel retreated northward after the warning shots were fired into the water. However, the incident underscores the heightened hostilities between the two Koreas.
The brief encounter came hours after the United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket that world leaders described as a banned test of ballistic missile technology and South Korea’s president called another “intolerable provocation.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un went ahead with the launch just two hours after an eight-day window opened early Sunday, and a month after the country’s fourth nuclear test. He ignored an appeal from China, its neighbor and important ally, not to proceed, and, in another slap to Beijing, he chose to launch the rocket on the eve of Chinese New Year, the country’s most important holiday.