SEOUL – South Korea said Tuesday a North Korean warship strayed into South Korean waters late Monday, in the first reported maritime incursion of 2014.
South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said a 420 metric-ton vessel made three cross-border trips during the night and left after 2 a.m. without responding to warnings given by the South's navy. There wasn't an exchange of fire.
The incursions took place 13 nautical miles (15 miles) west of South Korea's Yeongpyeong Island, which is off the west coast of the Korean peninsula.
The maritime border, called the Northern Limit Line, is contested by North Korea. The area has been the site of deadly naval clashes between the two Koreas in the past. Fishing boats and patrol vessels from North Korea often ignore the line of demarcation.
In November 2010, North Korea shelled Yeongpyeong island, killing two soldiers and two civilians. A South Korean warship was sunk earlier that year near another island along the Northern Limit Line, killing 46. An international investigation concluded that a North Korean torpedo was responsible. North Korea disputes the investigation's findings.