North Korea's coast guard chased off Japanese fishing boats illegally operating in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) late last month, Pyongyang's state media reported Tuesday, rebutting Tokyo's claims that armed North Korean boats had trespassed in its own zone.
"The expulsion of the Japanese ships from our zone is a just and righteous exercise of our sovereign rights," North Korea's foreign ministry was quoted as saying by the English-language report of the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
South Korean President Moon Jae-in(right) shakes hands with North Korea`s leader Kim Jong-un during their first summit at the truce village of Panmunjom in April, 2018. (Yonhap)
The ministry did not provide further information, including the detailed location of the incidents, which took place on Aug. 23-24.
Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun reported last Friday that Japanese patrol boats found armed North Korean vessels within Japan's EEZ on the days, citing governmental sources.
The EEZ is a sea zone that a country has special rights over regarding the exploration and use of marine resources. It stretches out 200 nautical miles from the coastline.
North Korea also "sternly alerted Japan through a diplomatic channel" and demanded Tokyo prevent "possible reoccurrence of such acts of intruding into our zone," according to the report. (Yonhap)