"There have been frequent naval clashes around the Northern Limit Line, indeed it seems likely that it has been preserved by the current ROK and US authorities for that purpose. President Roh moo-hyun and Chairman Kim Jong Il, at their summit on 4 October 2007 agreed to a ‘special peace and cooperation zone in the West Sea’, but this peace initiative was overturned, as so many others, by incoming president Lee Myung-bak."
Tim Beal, "Korean Brinkmanship, American Provocation, and the Road to War: the manufacturing of a crisis," The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, Dec. 2010
"If Seoul were really interested in peace, you would think it would carry out its military drills in a less sensitive area." “It is appalling,” says Korea expert Leonid Petrov. “If it was a bona fide need for artillery practice they have plenty of islands in the Western sea. This is simply sending a message that the South is putting pressure on the North.”
Stephen Gowans, "Seoul and Washington play dangerous game with Korean lives," what's left, 12/17/10
"south Korean marines had fired live artillery into waters that, according to international customary law, belong to north Korea. Seoul, however, claims the waters as its own based on a sea border drawn unilaterally by the US military in 1953. Hardly unprovoked, the north Korean retaliation was triggered by the south Korean violation of north Korean territorial waters. Moreover, the artillery exchange between the two Koreas coincided with south Korean manoeuvres involving 70,000 ROK troops backed by US Marines. Pyongyang saw the exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion, not an unreasonable inference given the number of troops involved and Lee’s overt hostility to the DPRK."
Stephen Gowans, "Lee Myung-bak Heats Up Cold War on Korean Peninsula," what's left, 12/23/10
"The sea border that has become the main battleground between North and South Korea 57 years after it was imposed by a U.S. general has been called legally indefensible by American officials for more than three decades.
Then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in a 1975 classified cable that the unilaterally drawn Northern Limit Line was “clearly contrary to international law.” Two years before, the American ambassador said in another cable that many nations would view South Korea and its U.S. ally as “in the wrong” if clashes occurred in disputed areas along the boundary."
Daniel Ten Kate and Peter S. Green, "Defending Korea Line Seen Contrary to Law by Kissinger Remains U.S. Policy," Bloomberg News, 12/17/10
(cited by Stephen Gowans in "Seoul and Washington play dangerous game with Korean lives.")
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