INCHEON -- South Korea's Coast Guard and Navy jointly drove away a North Korean fishing boat entering the South's waters on Saturday, amid criticism about loopholes in maritime surveillance capabilities.
The 5-ton North Korean vessel was detected by a Navy surveillance plane at around 9 a.m. in waters 114 kilometers northeast of the easternmost islets of Dokdo, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard dispatched the 1,500-ton patrol vessel to the site at 10:40 a.m. and identified the North Korean boat.
At around noon, the North Korean Navy contacted its South Korean counterpart via an inter-Korean communication channel and asked it to rescue the boat.
The maritime police tried to check how the boat sailed south and crossed the de facto eastern maritime border. But North Korean fishermen reportedly rejected the Coast Guard's help, saying their boat's engine was operational.
The North's boat was forced to leave South Korean waters under the surveillance of the South's patrol vessel at around 8 p.m., according to the Coast Guard.
The incident came amid mounting criticism about a lack of military discipline following the revelation that a North Korean boat carrying four people crossed the border last week and reached the South's shores undetected. (Yonhap)