旭川時事英語研究会の二つ目のtextです。The Washington Postから北朝鮮問題のニュースを勉強します。
By Chico Harlan
Sunday, August 8, 2010; 1:44 PM
SEOUL — In a move that could agitate already-tense relations on a divided peninsula, North Korea on Sunday seized a South Korean fishing boat that had apparently sailed into an East Sea zone that the North views as its own.
The boat, carrying seven people, is now being held by North Korean authorities, the South’s coast guard said in a statement.
The incident comes at a time of fierce dispute between the North and South, reflected most recently as the South conducted military drills in the Yellow Sea, to the west. North Korea had threatened to counter the drills with “strong physical retaliation.” The South’s five-day drills end Monday.
The current tensions between the North and South date to the March torpedoing of the Cheonan warship, which killed 46 South Korean sailors. A subsequent investigation blamed the North for the sinking, but Pyongyang has denied any involvement.
The fishing boat, known as the Daeseung, was carrying four South Koreans and three Chinese. China is North Korea’s chief ally.
“We have found out that our fishing vessel is being investigated by North Korean officials in the presumed North Korea exclusive economic waters in northern East Sea,” the South Korean coast guard said in a statement. “The South Korean government, according to international law, wants the swift resolution to the matter and the safe return of its vessel and its fisherman.”
According to one report in the South Korean media, the boat was operating in a maritime area shared by North Korea and Russia, about 160 miles off the North Korean coast.
Territorial fishing disputes have been common between the North and South throughout the decades. The so-called Northern Limit Line, which separates waters to both the east and west, was fixed in 1989.