The line runs between the mainland portion of Gyeonggi-do province that had been part of Hwanghae before 1945, and the adjacent offshore islands, including Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeongdo. Because of the conditions of the armistice, the mainland portion reverted to North Korean control, while the islands remained a part of South Korea despite their close proximity.
The line extends into the sea from the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), and consists of straight line segments between 12 approximate channel midpoints, extended in an arc to prevent egress between both sides. On its western end the line extends out along the 38th parallel to the median line between Korea and China.
The 1953 Armistice Agreement, which was signed by both North Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC), ended the Korean War and specified that the five islands including Yeonpyeong Island and Baengnyeong Island would remain under the control of the UNC and South Korea. However, they did not agree on a maritime demarcation line, primarily because the UNC wanted to base it on 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) or 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) of territorial waters, while North Korea wanted to use 12 nautical miles (22 km).
After the United Nations Command and North Korea failed to reach an agreement, it is widely believed that the line was set by the UNC as a practical operational control measure a month after the armistice was signed, on August 30, 1953. However original documentation recording this has not been found. The line was originally drawn to prevent South Korean incursions into the north that threatened the armistice. However, its role has since been transformed to prevent North Korean ships heading south.
A 1974 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) research report investigating the origins of the NLL and its significance, declassified in 2000, found that the NLL was established in an order made on 14 January 1965 by the U.S. Commander Naval Forces, Korea. An antecedent line, under a different name, had been established in 1961 by the same commander. No documentation about the line earlier than 1960 could be located by the CIA, casting doubt on the belief that the NLL was created immediately after the armistice. The sole purpose of the NLL in this original order was to forbid UNC vessels from sailing north of it without special permission. The report noted, however, that in at least two places the NLL crosses into waters presumed to be under uncontested North Korean sovereignty. No evidence was found that North Korea had recognised the NLL.
While the NLL was drawn up at a time when a territorial waters limit of 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) was the norm, by the 1970s a limit of 12 nautical miles (22 km) had become internationally accepted, and the enforcement of the NLL prevented North Korea, in areas, from accessing significant territorial waters (arguably actual or prospective). In 1973, North Korea began disputing the NLL. Later, after the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the NLL also prevented North Korea from establishing an effective Exclusive Economic Zone to control fishing in the area.
It is unclear when North Korea was informed of the existence of the NLL. Many sources suggest this was done promptly, but in 1973 Deputy Secretary of State Kenneth Rush stated, in a now declassified, \"Joint State-Defense Message\" to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul that \"We are aware of no evidence that NLL has ever been officially presented to North Korea.\"However, South Korea argues that until the 1970s North Korea tacitly recognized the line as a sea demarcation line. North Korea recorded in their 1959 Central Almanac a partial demarcation line close to the UNC controlled islands, at about three nautical miles distance, which South Korea argues shows North Korean acceptance of the NLL as a whole.
The border is not officially recognized by North Korea.The North Korean and South Korean navies regularly patrol the area around the NLL. As North Korea does not recognise the line, its fishing boats work close to or over the limit line, escorted by North Korean naval boats.
The UNC emphasized its position on the border issue on 23 August 1999, stating that the NLL issue was non-negotiable because the demarcation line had been recognized as the de facto maritime border for a considerable length of time by both Koreas:
The NLL has served as an effective means of preventing military tension between North and South Korean military forces for 46 years. It serves as a practical demarcation line, which has contributed to the separation of forces.
When the 1953 Armistice was concluded between the U.N. and North Korea, agreement over a maritime extension of the demilitarized zone was not achieved. In 1955, DPRK proclaimed territorial waters extending 12 nautical miles (22 km). from the coastline. Other than this, North Korea did not explicitly dispute or actively violate the NLL until 1973. First, the North Korean negotiators at the 346th meeting of the Military Armistice Commission challenged the status of the line. North Korea followed this up by sending large groups of patrol ships over the NLL on about 43 occasions in October and November. North Korea states that it had not been informed of the existence of the line, which is now confirmed by declassified U.S. diplomatic cables, so it could not dispute it earlier.
Since September 1999, North Korea has claimed a more southerly \"West Sea Military Demarcation Line\" (also called \"Inter-Korean MDL\"). This maritime demarcation line is an extension line from the land boundary equidistant from the north and south mainlands, with channels to the north-west islands under UNC control, claimed to be based on international law delimitation decisions.
According to a 2002 Korean Central News Agency article the NLL violates the Korean armistice agreement and the 12 mile territorial waters stipulated by the UN Maritime Convention. The article claims the Northern Limit Line is a root cause of armed clashes, and by insisting on the line the U.S. and South Korean seek to use it to spark military conflict. An earlier article reported that at meetings of the military armistice commission in December 1973 and July 1989 North Korea noted that future clashes were unavoidable unless a clear Military Demarcation Line was drawn in the West Sea, and urging the U.S. to negotiate such measures.
These documents will be of great interest to those who study the early years of the NLL and U.S. policy regarding this North-South maritime dispute. U.S. officials were in a difficult position as they attempted, first and foremost, to administer the terms of the armistice while also maintaining South Korean security and being careful to navigate the legalities of the NLL dispute. The NLL has a habit of leaping into the headlines periodically as crises occur but the dispute has a long, complicated history. These documents provide important clarification on several important dimensions of this dispute and will be regular fare for future research.
Corporal Park Dong-hyuk is a newly enlisted sailor in the Republic of Korea Navy assigned to the patrol vessel PKM 357. In the midst of the 2002 FIFA World Cup taking place in South Korea, North Korea deploys fishing trawlers with spies to cross the Northern Limit Line (the demarcation line at sea). PKM 357 seizes the trawlers and their men, which allows the spies to familiarise themselves with the ship's superstructure. The North Koreans are eventually released upon orders by the South Korean high command, as part of the government's Sunshine Policy.
Seong-Geol Hong, Sun-Pyo Kim, Hyung-Ki Lee (2001-06-30). \"Fisheries Cooperation and Maritime Delimitation Issues between North Korea and Its Neighboring Countries\". Ocean Policy Research 16 (1): 191-216. Korea Maritime Institute. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved on 2010-11-28.
If the disputed territory, a demarcation line which currently benefits S. Korea (strong statement and some would disagree), is left unsettled, and North Korea continues to be defeated, the geopolitical game may escalate to a flashpoint beyond the Yeonpyeong Island shelling which claimed 4 innocent lives.
Uncertainty coupled with recent aggressive disputes are not the most settling of feelings. With Cheonan and Yeonpyeong fresh in the minds and hearts of S. Korean citizens, internal pressure surfacing from its people is likely in the event of South concessions on the NLL.Therefore, South Korea views the NLL as advantageous for its geopolitical security. However, as the re-drawing of lines may make South Korea vulnerable to North Korea provocation, the opposite is also true. Currently, the NLL does not make North Korea impervious to South Korean aggression, a point made frequently in the state media.
ROK politicians assert that the NLL site is crucial to regional security; yet, DPRK officials repudiate such an arbitrarily drawn hop-scotch line. Despite the legal grounds N. Korea may have to make a compelling case for its loss, sympathy will not be rewarded to those who cannot behave. Therefore, a pouting DPRK coddled by an Iranian ally up-against a flexing S. Korean and his American coach could result in a Mixed Martial Arts fight perhaps more deadly than the Yeonpyeong shelling.
2002 was a memorable year in South Korea because they were one of the host country of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. During this time where everybody is enjoying the festivities, the North Korea deploy patrol boats that entered the northern limit line.
Shamelessly trying to provoke the sympathies of viewers who remember the famous incident, Northern Limit Line is single-minded and clear in its design but it might have been forgiven its inevitably cloying nature were it not so badly made. Haphazard doesn't even begin to describe this TV drama posing as a big-budget s