Russia says it has detained two DPRK vessels over the incident which left three FSB guards injured
Three Russian border guards were attacked and injured by crew members of a North Korean vessel, Moscow said on Tuesday, claiming that two DPRK ships were poaching in Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) originally told TASS that one of the North Korean ships with 21 people on board had been seized, though later indicated that both ships had been arrested.
“The crew of a North Korean vessel [with over 45 people onboard] carried out an armed attack on the members of a monitoring group of the border guards’ ship. Three servicemen received various injuries,” the FSB said in comments carried by TASS.
An FSB spokesperson added that the two DPRK ships and 11 motorboats were spotted poaching near the Yamato Bank, which lies between the Korean Peninsula, Russia, and Japan.
On the same day, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it had summoned a North Korean diplomat over the attacks.
“Today, the DPRK charge d’affaires in the Russian Federation will be summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry in connection with the situation with the detention of North Korean schooners engaged in poaching in the Russian exclusive economic zone,” Moscow said in comments carried by Urdu Point.
North Korea and Russia often have uneasy relations when it comes waters near the two countries, with North Korea arresting a Russian fishing crew as recently as July.
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.
North Korea also arrested a Russian yacht in 2017 apparently for similar reasons, though again promptly released the Russian vessel.
Writing for NK News in December last year, North Korea watcher Andrei Lankov noted how the DPRK’s fishermen often head further afield in search of more abundant fishing grounds.
“In recent years, North Korean fishermen have to go further and further away from their native shores in search of fish and squid,” Lankov wrote.
“Many of them are now fishing on the Yamato Bank, a shallow water region located right in the middle of the Sea of Japan, some 400-500 kilometers from the nearest North Korean port city of Chongjin.”
On the same day that Russia announced the altercation, North Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement claiming that Japanese patrol boats had entered the North’s EEZ last month.
“On August 23 and 24, the patrol boat and ships of Japan Coast Guard were chased out by the self-defensive measures of the DPRK when those made an illegal intrusion into our exclusive economic zone,” the statement reads.
“The expulsion of the Japanese ships from our zone is a just and righteous exercise of our sovereign rights.”
Although vessels have a right of “transit passage” through EEZ’s, North Korea also claimed that it warned Tokyo against “obstructing the activities” of its fishing vessels.
Three Russian border guards were attacked and injured by crew members of a North Korean vessel, Moscow said on Tuesday, claiming that two DPRK ships were poaching in Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) originally told TASS that one of the North Korean ships with 21 people on board had been seized, though
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