North Korea Calls for Withdrawal of "Northern Limit Line"

[July 14, 2002]

On July 8, a spokesman for the Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People's Army issued a statement denouncing the United States and South Korea for carrying out naval hositilities against North Korea on June 29th, and for using the so-called "northern limit line" as justification.

Amongst other things, the statement says:

The "northern limit line" was a line drawn unilaterally by the commander of the U.S. forces in South Korea in the 1950s without any agreement between the DPRK and the U.S. It is an illegal line that ignores even the elementary provisions of the Korean Military Armistice Agreement and international law.

Subparagraph B of paragraph 13 of the armistice agreement stipulates that all the islands lying to the north and west of the provincial boundary line between Hwanghae-do and Kyonggi-do shall be under the military control of the KPA side, and the U.N. forces side shall control only five islands in the territorial waters under the military control of the KPA side.

According to international law, it is a common practice recognized by all countries to fix boundary lines on the principle of equidistance from the projecting parts of lands of both sides, their outer boundaries and their islands.

At the 346th meeting of the military armistice commission in December 1973, and at the 449th meeting in July 1989 and at the general-level military talks in Panmunjom in August and September 1999, the KPA noted that future clashes were unavoidable unless a clear Military Demarcation Line was drawn in the West Sea, repeatedly urging the U.S. side to take immediate measures.

In light of the recent incident in the west sea, the KPA clarified that the issue can be solved only when the military demarcation line in the sea is discussed and fixed. But the U.S. and the South Korean sides have ignored this, promoting instead a smear campaign against the DPRK.

The U.S. and the South Korean hawkish forces claim that patrol boats of the KPA navy crossed the "northern limit line" and opened fire first.

The U.S. and South Korean warmongers are well advised to immediately stop the smear campaign against the DPRK and refrain from infiltrating armed vessels into our territorial waters.