South Korean warning shot at North Korean patrol boat

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South Korea announced on Wednesday that it had repatriated seven members of a North Korean crew as well as its ship seized the day before for having crossed the maritime border, and had fired a warning shot at a patrol boat that did the same.

Crew members of the seized ship told authorities they crossed the de facto sea border between the two Koreas on Tuesday due to a “navigation error” and asked to “go back” to North Korea, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.

A North Korean patrol boat also crossed this de facto border on Tuesday morning, off the west coast of the peninsula, while pursuing a ship heading south, a Defense Ministry official said.

The South Korean navy fired a warning shot after which the North Korean patrol boat turned north, authorities said.

This incident occurred on the eve of the South Korean presidential election and in a context of growing tensions with Pyongyang, which since the beginning of the year has carried out a record number of missile launches.

The Yellow Sea, off the coast of the Korean peninsula, has been the scene of military clashes between the two Koreas. The de facto inter-Korean maritime border is disputed by North Korea.

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