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Ex-Officials Say Northern Limit Line is Korea’s Maritime Trip Wire

Ex-Officials Say Northern Limit Line is Korea’s Maritime Trip Wire

Updated August. 27, 2007 07:26

한국어

Amid the government’s move to put the adjustment of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) on agenda at the second inter-Korea summit slated for early October, two former reserve officers who held an important position in the department handling intelligence on North Korea for the Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Dae-jung administration said, “The NLL is a maritime trip wire.”

North Korea has been tenacious in demanding the scraping of the NLL. The tension over the NLL issue is escalating in South Korea after Unification Minister Lee Jae-jung remarked in the National Assembly on August 10, “The NLL is not a territorial matter but a security matter.”

Key officials of the Unification Ministry came out supporting Minister Lee’s statement on the government’s internet newspaper site on August 22, but Cheong Wa Dae refuses to clarify its position on raising the NLL issue at the summit while just maintaining that the NLL is a virtual maritime border.

In an interview with Dong-A Ilbo yesterday, reserve officials Park Seung-chun (60) and Han Chul-yong (60), criticized the government’s ambiguous attitude, saying, “North Korea is seeking to break up the South’s security crossbar by incapacitating the NLL.”

The two said, “The NLL has preserved the peace and has been a maritime trip wire that prevented conflicts between the two Koreas for more than a half-century,” and warned that yielding the NLL would translate into removing a security shield for the Incheon and metropolitan area.

The two added, “The real intention behind the North’s move to abolish the NLL is to neutralize the South’s navy forces around the West Sea that would obstruct its attack against the South in case of a war,” and pointed out, “The claim that yielding the NLL will bring peace on the West Sea is just a fantasy that ignores the North’s military strategy against the South.”

The two of them left the military service over the controversy regarding the NLL.

After the naval clash of 2002 in the West Sea, Han was disciplined and discharged from military service for saying that the military leadership ignored signs of Northern provocation.

Park left the military after making public a message showing that the North tried to deceive the South back in July of 2004.