Chinese fishing vessels are leaving the Yellow Sea, where tensions between the two Koreas have escalated after Pyongyang’s threats of military clash, a defense source here said Friday.
“Chinese fishing ships operating near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) began withdrawing yesterday,” the source said, adding the military authorities are trying to find out whether North Korea asked them to do so.
More than 280 Chinese vessels were fishing near the NLL for crab earlier this week but the number has dropped to about 140, according to the source.
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Tensions are running high around the de-facto inter-Korean maritime border following North Korea’s warning Tuesday of military action that came after South Korea announced its full participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative, a U.S.-led campaign to stop the trade of weapons of mass destruction and related materials.
There were two deadly skirmishes between the two sides near the sea border, in 1999 and 2002.