Crab wars

Crab wars

The Crab Wars refer to naval incidents that have taken place between North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea. The primary cause of these skirmishes is the rich crab-fishing waters in the area of the Northern Limit Line (NLL). North Korea does not recognize this boundary, setting the stage for these sort of confrontations. The most notable clashes being in June 1999, November 2002 and November 2004.

1999 Incident

Also known as the First Battle of the West Sea, began on June 8th when North Korean torpedo boats and two patrol boats crossed into the disputed waters, escorting a group of fishing boats. High-speed South Korean patrol boats approached the vessels, attempting to ram and repel them. The North Koreans then opened fire touching off the confrontation [ CNN - Seoul: Engagement to continue despite deadly Korean naval battle - June 15, 1999 ] ] .The battle resulted in the loss of two north Korean patrol boats, five were damaged, 30 sailors killed and 70 wounded. The south Koreans received light damaged to two of their patrol craft.

As this was done against the backdrop of high level talks between the Koreas in Beijing, it generated considerable tension. However, neither side escalated, and the talks went forth. The US and China both expressed concern regarding the clash and both expressed hope of a diplomatic solution. Furthermore, it drew attention to the widening gap in military capabilities between the two Koreas and humiliatied the north, which styles itself a military power [ [ Northern Limit Line (NLL) West Sea Naval Engagements ] ]


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