The chief of the ruling Democratic Party on Tuesday visited a frontline island in the Yellow Sea and expressed optimism for peace over the tense maritime border amid rapprochement with North Korea.
Lee Hae-chan, the DP's chairman, visited Yeonpyeong Island near the western sea border.
In November 2010, North Korea carried out an artillery shelling of the island, killing four people, including two civilians, and injuring 18 others.
The DP's chief expressed hope that the island will be in peace due to South Korea's efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.
The two Koreas signed a military agreement on Sept. 19 to ease tensions and prevent accidental clashes that included the establishment of a maritime peace zone near the Northern Limit Line, a de facto sea border.
"The 2010 shelling generated damage and fear still remains. But if this region will become a maritime peace zone, such fear will disappear and residents could fish safely," Lee was quoted as saying by party officials during his visit to a military unit on the island.
He stressed that inter-Korean relations are at a crossroad that is transforming the Cold War rivalry into ties in an era of peace and co-existence.
Waters near the NLL have been the scene of bloody skirmishes in recent years. In March 2010, Pyongyang torpedoed a South Korean warship in the Yellow Sea, killing 46 sailors. (Yonhap)