North Korean wooden boat found off South Korea’s eastern coast

SEOUL, July 12 (UPI) — A wooden boat believed to be from North Korea was found right off the east coast on Friday, but nobody was aboard, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The Coast Guard found the small boat some 30 meters away from the shore in the northeastern town of Goseong, Gangwon Province, at around 10:37 a.m., while patrolling the area, the JCS said.

The town is about 20 km from the Northern Limit Line, the de facto sea border with the North.

The 32-foot-long boat did not have an engine, and some fishing nets were found on it. The boat was nearly submerged when the officers first spotted it, the JCS added.

“A probe is underway into the case, though no suspicion of espionage was found so far as the boat bears traces of submersion,” a JCS officer said.

The incident took place about a month after a wooden boat carrying four North Koreans arrived at the port of Samcheok, Gangwon Province, after crossing the inter-Korean maritime border unchecked.

In the face of mounting criticism over the military’s failure in coastal and maritime operations, the defense ministry vowed to take measures to beef up security of the inter-Korean sea border, including the deployment of an additional naval ship, increased patrol flights and the installation of more radars on and offshore.

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