Tsarizm reported recently on an incident in the Sea of Japan between North Korean fishing vessels and the Russian coast guard where three Russian sailors were injured after the North Korean ship opened fire during a stop for illegal poaching.
Russian state-run news entity RIA Novoste confirmed yesterday that over 160 North Korean sailors were detained by Russian security services.
Two North Korean schooners and 11 motorboats were found fishing illegally off Russia’s far eastern coast on Tuesday and detained the first vessel, prompting the second one to open fire, RIA quoted Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) as saying.
North Korean sailors were wounded in the incident; Russia declared it will summon North Korea’s diplomatic representative to ‘discuss’ the incident.
Far from an isolated case, this incident is the culmination of a long-running series of fishing tensions between North Korea and its Russian neighbor. According to Aleksei Maslov, director of the Center for Strategic Studies of China and one of Russia’s foremost East Asia experts, “unfortunately, North Korean piracy and illegal fishing have always existed in one form or another within our territorial waters.” Maslov asserts that Russian authorities have turned a blind eye to similar North Korean behavior for years, but that the armed, 161-strong poaching expedition was the straw that broke the camel’s back: “I think [our] patience snapped, our border guards began enforcing the law, and DPRK realized that the warnings are over,” wrote The National Interest.
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