South Korean military says North Korean leader recognizes Northern Limit Line

SEOUL, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Friday that the leaders of the two Koreas have recognized the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a de facto sea border, as the term was included in this year's key inter-Korean agreements.

The remarks came amid a dispute over whether the communist state now acknowledges the maritime boundary that it has long disputed on the grounds that it was drawn unilaterally by the U.S.-led U.N. Command after the 1950-53 Korean War.

In the April inter-Korean summit declaration, the two Koreas jointly used the NLL term, while pledging to transform areas surrounding the tense boundary in the West Sea into a "maritime peace zone." That term also appears in last month's military agreement aimed at reducing tensions and preventing accidental clashes.

Seoul has used the two agreements to argue that the North has recognized the NLL.

"The two leaders agreed to turn the areas around the NLL into a maritime peace zone and also reaffirmed that in the September military agreement," the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.

"This means that the two leaders have recognized the NLL," it added.

The JCS also said that Seoul has been striving to use the NLL as a standard line to set the peace zone in the West Sea and create a joint fishing area there.

The NLL has long been a major flashpoint. A series of attacks and naval clashes have occurred near it, including the North's torpedo attack on the South Korean corvette Cheonan in 2010 that killed 46 sailors.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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