Russia detains two North Korean vessels after one opens fire

Cheryl Sanders
September 18, 2019

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Tuesday it had detained over 80 North Korean citizens in Russian territorial waters in the Sea of Japan, during an incident in which two vessels were also captured, Russian news agencies reported.

Russian coastguards say they have seized two North Korean boats and more than 80 crew members.

The border guards managed to detain one of the vessels with 21 crew members, while the crew of the other launched an attack, according to the FSB.

Russia's relations with the reclusive North Korea are typically cordial, and the border attack is a rare incident. "Three servicemen got wounds of varying severity", it said.

On the same day, Russia's Foreign Ministry said it had summoned a North Korean diplomat over the attacks.

The DPRK said that the Russian ship had violated "the rules of entry and stay in the DPRK territory", though released the ship after 11 days.

Writing for NK News in December previous year, North Korea watcher Andrei Lankov noted how the DPRK's fishermen often head further afield in search of more abundant fishing grounds. That same month, the South Korean government issued an apology to its people after a North Korean boat managed to dock undetected in the port of Samcheok. This altercation in the Sea of Japan could be evidence of tighter Russian sanction enforcement against North Korea.

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