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(LEAD) N. Korea condemns artificial reef being placed by S. Korea in West Sea

All News 19:33 July 25, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in pars 3-4)

SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Monday condemned the artificial reef structures being placed in the West Sea by South Korea to control Chinese illegal fishing activities, calling it part of Seoul's military provocations against Pyongyang's maritime demarcation line.

In March, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) said it will set up a total of eight artificial reef structures in the eastern waters off Baengnyeongdo, Daecheongdo and Socheongdo, all located south of the northern limit line (NLL), to prevent Chinese fishing vessels from intruding into the South Korean waters.

Drawn by the U.S.-led United Nations Command at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, the NLL is the de facto sea border between the two Koreas, although the North has not recognized it as such.

According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the West Sea Fleet of the Navy of the Korean People's Army (KPA) said South Korea's new artificial structures can only be seen a encroachments on its waters.

"The fish-breeding reef, structure weighing dozens of tons, is being set up in the sensitive waters which witnessed three skirmishes in the past, a fact clearly showing the provocative nature," KCNA said.

Such provocative acts have revealed Seoul's "sinister intention" to spark a military conflict in the world's most dangerous waters, the North's state-run media outlet claimed.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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