It has been confirmed that North Korea sent a warning communication to a large South Korean cargo ship operating in the East Sea around the middle of this month, telling it to “go to foreign waters.” This is a unilateral demand for the South Korean flagged cargo ships operating on normal routes to leave the sea.
The military and government authorities reportedly maintained a high level of surveillance and response to North Korea for an extended period of time until the cargo ship turned around and entered South Korean waters beyond the East Sea’s Northern Limit Line (NLL), in case of any contingencies such as North Korean missile provocations in the vicinity of the cargo ship or on its route. The overall situation from the beginning to the end of the incident was reported in real time through the military leadership to the Yongsan presidential office, which also closely monitored the situation.
North Korea issues unusual warning to South Korean cargo ship on normal route
According to a report by the Donga Ilbo on March 22, North Korean authorities issued several warnings to a large South Korean cargo ship operating southward in the northeastern waters of the East Sea in the early morning hours around the middle of this month, telling the ship to “go out to sea” via the international radio maritime communication network. It is unclear why North Korea asked the cargo ship to leave the area or who exactly issued the warning communications.
The cargo ship was reportedly a large shipment of more than a thousand tons and was traveling along a normal route with dozens of sailors on board at the time. “The route is normally traveled by a large number of cargo ships carrying various imported and exported goods,” a military source said, adding, “It is an extremely unusual situation for North Korea to send a warning communication to a South Korean cargo ship operating on a normal route.”
At the time, the relevant ministries and the military, including the Ministry of Oceans, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, which received the report of the North Korean warning communication from the cargo ship, reportedly began to take follow-up measures just in case. “We have thoroughly prepared for various scenarios, including military threats that North Korea could pose to our cargo ships,” a government source said. After a month-long lull following the April 13 launch of a Hwasong-18 solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), North Korea has not ruled out the possibility of attempting to launch a missile into the East Sea, where cargo ships travel.
Some have suggested that North Korea may be preparing to launch a military reconnaissance satellite over the Sea of Japan, a move that could be linked to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s announcement.
Authorities “closely monitoring its movement until it enters the NLL토토사이트“
The military reportedly closely monitored the DPRK’s movements with satellites and other surveillance assets until the cargo ship turned to the outer sea and safely descended into South Korean waters below the NLL in the East Sea, following instructions from the military and government authorities. “It is understood that the ROK has also kept emergency forces, including fighter jets and warships, on standby in case the North poses a military threat to the cargo ship or the vicinity of the route it is traveling, or if there are signs of an imminent threat,” another source said.
Military and government officials monitored the situation for an extended period of time until the cargo ship entered the waters beyond the East Sea NLL in the late afternoon, and the President’s office was reportedly briefed in real time. However, after the warning communication, there was no unusual behavior from North Korea until the cargo ship traveled south of the NLL in the East Sea.
Another source said, “We are analyzing whether North Korea mistook the cargo ship’s route or made an intentional threat to escalate tensions,” adding, “We believe that this incident may not be a ‘one-off’ and are monitoring related trends and devising countermeasures.”