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Navy chief vows tougher responses to any N. Korean aggression

All Headlines 11:18 June 15, 2011

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Navy chief vowed Wednesday to respond to any future aggression by North Korea with tougher responses than in the past, calling for more efforts to build a stronger Navy to defend the tense sea border with the North.

"We must spare no efforts to guard the Northern Limit Line (NLL) from the enemy," Adm. Kim Sung-chan said in a speech marking the 12th anniversary of a 1999 naval skirmish with the North near the maritime border.

"Our Navy should defend the NLL and our waters with firm resolve, even fighting to the death, and wipe out the enemy should it provoke us again," Kim said.

The South's Navy suffered no casualties in the 1999 clash, which scuttled one North Korean ship and wreaked havoc on nine others. South Korean officials estimated dozens of North Korean soldiers were killed.

The NLL has been a constant source of military tensions between the two Koreas. Aside from the 1999 battle, the two Koreas fought in 2002 and 2009.

Military tensions on the Korean Peninsula spiked last year following the North's two deadly attacks on the South -- the March sinking of the Cheonan warship and the November shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. The two attacks, which also took place near the sea border, killed a total of 50 South Koreans.

North Korea has never recognized the NLL, drawn by the U.S.-led United Nations forces at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a truce. It demands that a new border be drawn further south.

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