NORTH KOREAN INFILTRATORS
Because North Korea lacks sophisticated spy planes and satellites one of the few ways it can find out on its own what is going on in South Korea is with infiltrators. There were over 310 incidents involving North Korean intruders infiltrating into South Korea between 1970 and 1996. Some enter South Korea by crossing the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the border between the two Koreas. One female agent who returned to North Korea after completing a difficult mission was given a medal, a gold watch and a Mercedes Benz at a special ceremony at Kim Il Sung's palace.
Philip Gourevitch wrote in the Observer: “Since the Korean War, the North has repeatedly gone on the attack: kidnapping Japanese and South Korean citizens; digging tunnels through the bedrock below the DMZ into South Korea, tunnels big enough for an invasion force to pass through at a rate of 10 soldiers a minute; sending an assassination team to Seoul to kill the president; bludgeoning to death with axes two American officers in the Joint Security Area of the DMZ; blowing up and killing seven senior members of a South Korean delegation to Burma; initiating countless naval battles with Southern ships, resulting in numerous fatalities; sending a submarine to land commandos in the South; launching a missile over Japan. The list goes on. [Source: Philip Gourevitch, Observer Magazine, The Guardian, November 2, 2003]
Peacetime infiltration by North Korean agents was a fact of life in South Korea after the armistice in 1953. There were, however, clear shifts both in the number and method of infiltrations over the years and in their goals. Through the mid1960s , Pyongyang sent agents primarily to gather intelligence and to try to build a covert political apparatus. This tactic was followed by a dramatic shift to violent attempts to destabilize South Korea, including commando raids along the DMZ that occasionally escalated into firefights involving artillery. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Library of Congress, 1990 *]
From the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, most North Korean infiltration was done by heavily armed reconnaissance teams, which increasingly were intercepted and neutralized by South Korean security forces. After shifting to infiltration by sea for a brief period in the 1980s, Pyongyang apparently discarded military reconnaissance in favor of inserting agents from third countries. North Korea did not abandon violence, however, as was shown by the abortive 1982 attempt to recruit Canadian criminals to assassinate President Chun Doo Hwan, the 1983 Rangoon assassination attempt that killed seventeen South Korean government officials and four Burmese dignitaries, and the 1987 destruction of a Korean Air airliner with 115 people on board. In the airliner bombing, North Korea broke from its pattern of targeting South Korean government officials, in particular the president, and targeted ordinary citizens.*
North Korean Infiltrations
Infiltration raids peaked in 1968, when more than 600 infiltrations were reported, including an unsuccessful attempt at a commando attack on the Blue House in Seoul and the infiltration of over 120 commandos on the east coast. In 1969 more than 150 infiltrations were attempted, involving almost 400 agents. In 1970 and 1974, agents attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate President Park. In the 1974 attempt, during an August 15 ceremony marking National Liberation Day at the National Theater in Seoul, the assassin's shots missed President Park but killed Mrs. Park (See Below). Subsequently, Pyongyang's infiltration efforts abated somewhat, and the emphasis shifted back to intelligence gathering and covert networks. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Library of Congress, 1990 *]
In 1965, four North Koreans infiltrators were caught trying to sneak into South Korea in the Imjin River in a mini submarine that looked like two bathtubs welded together. In July, 1993, three North Korean agents were killed after entering South Korea through a tunnel In 1995, a North Korean agent was shot and another was shot near the southern town of Puyo. The two infiltrators had swum ashore from a midget submarine at Kanghwa-do Island near Inchon. In October 1995, North Korean agents penetrated 163 kilometers (100 miles) into South Korea before one is captured. Another escaped even though he was hunted by several thousand men.
In August 1997, a North Korean husband and wife team were dropped off by a vessel posing as fishing vessel about 500 meters off the coast of Koje Island (near Pusan) around 9:00pm and swam the distance in wet suits. The spent about a month traveling around the area and their goal was to recruit a renowned professor and some local politicians. The infiltrators carried fake South Korean ID cards, radios, two pistols with 120 rounds of ammunition and 4 million won in South Korean currency. The couple was caught in October and the woman died after biting into a poison pill (with highly lethal cyanide gas) she had hidden in her vagina.
Major Incidents Involved North Korea After the Korean War
January 21, 1968: North Korean commandos carried out a raid on Seoul's presidential Blue House in an attempt to assassinate President Park Chung-Hee. They are stopped just 800 meters short of their goal. All 32 are killed or captured. [Source: The Telegraph]
August 15, 1974: North Korean agent fires at President Park Chung-Hee during a speech. He misses but shoots and kills Park’s wife. Park continues his speech.
October 9, 1983: North Korean agents blow up a landmark in Burma just before the visiting South Korean President Chun Hoo-Hwan is set to arrive. Four South Korean cabinet ministers and 16 others are killed.
November 29, 1987: South Korean airliner explodes in mid-air due to a bomb planted by North Korean agents. All 115 people on board are killed
September 1996: A team of North Korean commandos is dropped off on the South Korean coast by a North Korean mini-submarine. There is a huge manhunt. Twenty-four infiltrators are shot dead including 11 by their own hand. One is captured and one was never unaccounted for.
June 15, 1999: A clash breaks out along the Yellow Sea border, the first naval battle since the Korean War. A North Korean boat with an estimated 20 sailors aboard is sunk.
June 29, 2002: A South Korean ship is sunk and six sailors killed in another Yellow Sea clash, while South Korea is co-hosting the World Cup soccer tournament. An estimated 13 North Koreans die.
November 10, 2009: Navies of the two sides exchange fire near the Yellow Sea border. Seoul officials say a North Korean patrol boat retreated in flames but its casualties are unknown. No South Koreans are hurt.
November 23, 2010: North Korea fires artillery rounds at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, killing two soldiers and injuring seventeen others. Three civilians were also hurt in the attack. South Korea returned fire and scrambled combat aircraft in the area. |**|
March 26, 2010: A huge unexplained explosion strikes the Cheonan, a 1,200-ton South Korean corvette, near the disputed border and the warship breaks in two. A total of 58 sailors are rescued but 46 die. A North Korean torpedo is suspected but not 100 percent proven as the cause A report by a multinational investigation team released in May 20, 2010: says the Cheonan was sunk by a torpedo launched from a North Korean submarine.
Suspected Murders by North Korean Agents
In 1998, the wife of a North Korean diplomat was shot and killed at her home on Islamabad, Pakistan. The Pakistani government maintained she was killed when a neighbor’s cook accidently fired a shotgun. Intelligence sources say it is more likely that she was killed by North Korean agents because she had talked too much about North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons program.
In 1996, a South Korean diplomat was murdered in Vladivostok in eastern Russia. He had been struck on the back of the head with a blunt object and none of the his belongings were taken. Some people suspected North Korean agents may have been involved, but nothing was every proven.
In 1987, the decomposed corpse of a woman was found with pillow case wrapped over her head and a belt around he neck. She was identified as a 34-year-old South Korean bar hostess named Zuzy Kim. Her husband, who had reported her missing two weeks before, said she was a North Korea agent who tried to kidnap him to North Korea and was presumably killed by other North Korean agents. The story was big news. In 2002, the husband confessed he killed his wife and made up the story.
North Korean Commandos Try to Kill South Korean President Park Chung Hee in 1968
Several assassination attempts were made on Park Chung Hee, President of South Korean from 1961 to 1978. Two of them were made by North Korean agents and commandos. On January 21, 1968, a unit of 31 North Korean commandos attempted to infiltrate the presidential residence palace in Seoul and assassinate President Park. They were caught just 800 meters away from the palace. A fierce street battle erupted near the presidential palace. All but two of the North Koreans were killed. Three-one South Koreans were also killed. Two days later the USS Pueblo was seized.
Sebastien Roblin wrote in the National Interest: “At midnight on January 17, 1968, thirty-one men in dark overalls quietly slip across the demilitarized zone separating North from South Korea. This sector, located thirty miles directly north of Seoul, is lined with barbed wire and dense minefields, and overlooked by the sentries and machine-gun nests of the U.S. Second Infantry Division.But the infiltrators clip through the barbed-wire fence, bypass or disarm the mines, and creep past the enemy guard posts, which are helpfully illuminated by the fires the sentries use to combat the winter chill. They camp out just a few miles away from the American division’s headquarters. The following evening, they penetrate deeper into South Korea. Confronted by the frozen Imjin River, they don white sheets for camouflage and skid over to the other side. [Source: Sebastien Roblin, National Interest, April 17, 2019]
“These men belong to Special Forces Unit 124, and have been training for this moment for two years. Selected for physical strength and political loyalty, they have been instructed in marksmanship and jiujitsu, taught to speak with southern accents and made to undergo gruesome tests of endurance, including going for days without food and sleeping with dead bodies in a grave. Each man is loaded down with over sixty pounds of gear, including a submachine gun, a pistol and eight hand grenades.
“Their mission: to assassinate South Korean president Park Chung-hee at his residence in Seoul. As one commando states, “We thought the president there was a stooge, an American collaborator. I hated him.” The assassins trek cross-country through forests and mountains by night and sleep by day. But the elite commandos have a blind spot: they are so indoctrinated in North Korea’s self-evident superiority that they naively assume the South is ready for revolution—and that killing President Park, who had come to power in a military coup, will serve as the catalyst. This is unlikely. Though Park is a dictator responsible for the deaths of hundreds of protesters and political opponents, he has also initiated a program of state-led, export-oriented industrialization that is already transforming a formerly poverty-stricken South Korea.
“On January 19, four young loggers — all brothers — stumble upon the commandos’ encampment. The commandos debate: should they kill the witnesses? Their leader Kim Jong-moon, veteran of seven prior infiltrations, instead lectures them on the virtues of Communism. The country boys avow their conversion to Marxism and promise not to inform the authorities. Unfortunately for Unit 124, this epiphany is short lived. Once released, the farmers immediately contact the police. The South Korean army mobilizes several infantry divisions to root out the commandos. But the infiltrators quicken their pace to seven miles per hour and manage to race ahead of South Korean roadblocks. They enter Seoul in small groups on the evening of January 20, then regroup at a temple the next day just a mile away from the president’s residence.
North Korean Commando Firefight Near Park Chung Hee Residence
Sebastien Roblin wrote in the National Interest: ““By now, Seoul is buzzing with military patrols. The hit squad settles on a new plan: they strip out of their overalls, revealing South Korean fatigues underneath bearing the patch of the Twenty-Sixth Infantry Division. They then march brazenly down Samcheong-dong Road, posing as one of the very units hunting them down! The daring ploy seems to work. The commandos pass several patrols and checkpoints without being seriously challenged. By ten p.m. they are just a few hundred meters from the grassy field in front of the presidential Blue House, a complex of several large traditional-style buildings with blue tiled roofs. [Source: Sebastien Roblin, National Interest, April 17, 2019]
“It’s at this point that Choi Gyu-sik, police chief for Jongno District, pulls up in a jeep. The thirty-seven-year-old police commander has set out to investigate after a sentry mentions the suspicious platoon to him. Now he demands that the group’s members present their identification papers. The commandos struggle to come up with a glib response. Some say that then Choi pulls out a pistol. Others claim the North Koreans are startled by an approaching bus. Either way, the assassins whip out their guns and kill Choi and his driver.
“However, a nearby platoon of South Korean infantry races towards the sound of gunfire and engages the hit squad. Soon the approach to the Blue House rings to the chatter of automatic weapons. A school bus accidentally careens into the crossfire and is riddled with bullets, then blasted by grenades, killing or wounding more than twenty civilians. Then Patton tanks began rumbling towards the assassins. Recognizing their fight is hopeless, they disperse, seeking to exfiltrate back across the border.
“Over the following nine days, American and South Korean troops fight bloody skirmishes as they hunt down the fleeing commandos. Most try to take as many of their pursuers with them as possible. One captured commando is taken to police headquarters for interrogation by National Police Director Chae Won-shik. Mid-interrogation, he detonates a grenade concealed on his person, killing himself and injuring Chae. In all, twenty-six South Korean soldiers and civilians die in the firefight in front of the Blue House and the manhunt that follows, and sixty-six are wounded. Additionally, three American soldiers are killed by North Korean forces while combing the DMZ for the infiltrators.
Aftermath of the North Korean Commando Attack in 1968
Sebastien Roblin wrote in the National Interest: “Just two days after the firefight, North Korean naval forces seize the USS Pueblo, an intelligence ship sailing in international waters off Korea, killing one crewmember and taking eighty-two captive. This move is seen as an attempt to divert attention from the Blue House raid, and gives Pyongyang hostages to forestall retaliation for the failed assassination. Park Chung-hee is deeply shaken by the fact that thirty-one assassins had come within a few hundred meters of his doorstep. He withdraws to a safe house, drinking heavily and raging that the Americans seem more concerned with bargaining for the crew of the Pueblo than with taking aggressive action to counter what he believes is an imminent invasion. U.S. diplomats scramble to dissuade Park from starting a war and withdrawing the hundreds of thousands of ROK troops stationed in South Vietnam, then engaged in fighting off the Tet Offensive, offering him US$100 million in additional economic aid. [Source: Sebastien Roblin, National Interest, April 17, 2019]
“But Park still wants blood, and orders the military to plan a hit on Kim Il-sung. The ROK army recruits its own thirty-one-man suicide squad called Unit 684 from petty criminals and unemployed youth, subjecting them to a brutal training regimen on the island of Silmido which leaves seven of them dead. But in 1971, warming relations with the North cause Seoul to cancel the raid. The abused operators mutiny, killing eighteen instructors, hijack a bus and barrel towards the Blue House. Cornered by the army, most are either shot or commit suicide by hand grenade in a horrifying incident depicted in the film Silmido.
“As for Unit 124, there are only two survivors out of the thirty-one that crossed the border. Only Park Jae-kyung manages to slip back into North Korea. The once-expendable infiltrator rises to Vice Minister of Defense in 2007. He twice returns to South Korea with diplomatic delegations, his presence intended to needle Seoul Park’s comrade Kim Shin-jo follows a very different path. He flees without firing a shot and is captured by South Korean soldiers on Inwang Mountain. To his surprise, Kim is treated with respect by his interrogator, whom Kim grows to admire. He becomes a citizen of South Korea, leading Pyongyang to execute his parents. He goes on to raise a family and becomes a Presbyterian minister.”
Assassination Attempt Kills Park Chung Hee’s Wife
On January 21, 1968, a unit of 31 North Korean commandos attempted to infiltrate the presidential palace and assassinate President Park Chung-hee. They were caught just 500 meters away from the palace. A fierce street battle erupted near the presidential palace. All but one North Korean was killed. Three-one South Koreans were also killed.
August 15, 1974,a North Korean agent fired at President Park Chung-Hee during a speech. He misses but shoots and kills Park’s wife. Park continues his speech. The attempt to assassinate Park occurred during a ceremony marking the 29th anniversary of the liberation from Japan. Park came close to being shot himself. Stray bullets killed his wife.
The assassin, 23-year-old Moon Se Kwang (Mun Se-gwang) — a South Korean resident in Japan — snuck into the National Theater where Park was giving a speech celebrating South Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule. Moon, a North Korea sympathizer, entered South Korea using the passport of a Japanese man and carried a pistol stolen from a Japanese police station. Moon — a member of the pro-South Korea ‘General Association of Korean Residents in Japan’ — was arrested on the spot and executed four months later. [Source: New York Times- Kyodo]
South Korea blamed the Japanese government and held it at least morally responsible. Japan-South Korea ties were almost broken. The assassination also brought an end to dialogues between North and South Korea. Park responded to the incident by drafting a series of emergency measures; the harshest of these, Emergency Measure No. 9, issued in May 1975, provided for the arrest of anyone criticizing the constitution and banned all political activities by students.
After his wife’s death, Park became more reclusive and came to rely more and more on his chief bodyguard, Ch'a Chi-ch'ol, of the Presidential Security Force. Park became very depressed after his wife’s death. He later said he did not intend to serve indefinitely and said he often thought that had he decided not to stand for president in 1972, the life of his wife would have been spared. He withdrew and his rule became more repressive while Koreans called for more change.
Park Geun-hye, Park Chung Hee’s daughter and the future president of South Korea, was studying in Grenoble in France at the time of assassination. She returned to South Korea and played the role of her father's "First Lady" following the assassination in 1974 until Park Chung Hee’s own shooting death in 1979.
Downing of Korean Air 858 and North Korean Terrorist Acts in the 1980s
On October 9, 1983, less than six weeks after the downing of Korean Air 007 by a Soviet jet, which killed 269 people on the plane. tragedy, a bomb planted by North Korean spies exploded during an official visit by South Korean president Chun Doo Hwon to Rangoon, Burma. The bomb blew up a landmark just before Chun was set to arrive. Chun survived, but 21 other people were killed including four cabinet members, two top Presidential advisors, an ambassador and 10 other top South Korean officials. The Burmese captured two North Korean army agents who were later found guilty of murder. Pyongyang denied involvement, saying the whole thing was staged to discredit the North. Unpersuaded, South Korea broke off diplomatic relations with North Korea.
On November 29, 1987, a South Korean civilian airliner exploded in mid-air due to a bomb planted by North Korean agents posing as Japanese tourists. All 115 people on board were killed. Korean Air flight 858, traveling from Baghdad to Abu Dhabi to Seoul, blew up over the Andaman Sea near Burma. The terrorist act is believed to have been in retaliation for North Korea being barred from the 1988 Olympics.
A female North Korean agent, Kim Hyun Hee, and her male companion slipped a bomb planted in a radio on the plane. The two agents got on the plane in Baghdad and got off in Abu Dhabi. They boarded a another plane for Bahrain, where they caught by security personnel after the bomb exploded.
After being caught the two North Korean tried to commit suicide by taking poison pills (with highly lethal cyanide gas) hidden in a pack of cigarettes. Kim survived but her companion didn’t. Kim later tried to bite off her tongue so she couldn't talk. Later, she said that her handlers told her that the attack was ordered by Kim Jong Il.
Kim was convicted in the bombing of a South Korean airliner and sentenced to death. While in prison she became a born-again Christian and was pardoned after denouncing North Korea and Communism. She was spared because her act was considered political and she had been brainwashed.
Kim became a South Korea citizen. In 1997 she married a KCIA agent and settled in Seoul after briefly running a Japanese restaurant in Gyeongju (Kyong-ju) . She gave birth to a son in 2001. He autobiography “The Tears of My Soul” became a bestseller. She now makes a living lecturing about North Korea.
North Korean Submarine Infiltrators in 1996
In September 1996, a team of North Korean commandos was dropped off on the South Korean coast by a North Korean mini-submarine. There was a huge manhunt. Twenty-four infiltrators were shot dead including 11 by their own hand. One was captured and one was never unaccounted for.
The incident began when the 325-ton North Korean Sang-O class submarine ran aground on a reef near Kangung, a town on the east coast of South Korea about 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of the DMZ and the North Korean border . The first South Korean to spot the sub was a taxi driver who saw a group of men with short haircuts and strange identical clothing near the road. After dropping a customer off, he returned to the spot "and saw something that looked like a dolphin or a submarine. I was certain it wasn't a fishing boat, so I reported it to the police," he said.
On board the submarine, investigators found a Czech-made machine gun, a North Korean rifle, 175 rounds of ammunition, 100 grenades, and a note that read, "We must accomplish this mission without fail." Much of the 32-meter-long Yugoslavian-made submarine was made of radar-deterring plastic. Parts of the sub were burned and damaged, in an apparent effort to sabotage the equipment before abandoning the vessel.
North Korea initially demanded that the submarine be returned and threatened to retaliate "a thousandfold" if it wasn't. In December 1996, North Korea surprising apologizes for the submarine incident and promises to work for peace.
Infiltrators on the North Korean Submarine
There were 26 North Koreans on the submarine. In the woods about five kilometers (3 miles) from submarine, the corpses of 11 of the infiltrators were found. They were wearing South-Korean-made jeans and it was first thought they committed suicide. But a more careful investigation showed they had been shot in the abdomen and from behind with AK-47. No AK-47 was found at the site, which some investigators thought meant that a group of elite commandos shot the crew of the submarine to increase their chances of survival.
A North Korean soldier who was captured said that the submarine left North Korea with 19 crew members and seven infiltrators, whose mission was to spy on airports and radar installations. The infiltrators were dropped off and apparently competed their mission. When the sub returned to pick them up it ran aground on the reef and had to be abandoned. Among those who fled into the South Korean countryside were three "special commandos" in South Korean uniform. They were carrying rifles and grenades and were capable of covering 10 kilometers an hour in mountain terrain.
South Korean citizens living near the place where the submarine ran aground were told to be vigilant and report an suspicious activity. There was a curfew from 7:00pm to 6:00am and the government offered $120,000 for information about the suspected intruders. An estimated 40,000 South Korean troops were involved in the search for the intruders.
Submarine Infiltrators on the Loose
Of the 15 infiltrators left, one gave himself up peacefully when he was reported to the police by a woman feeding a deer; three more were killed in a 20 minute firefight with South Korean soldiers; an additional three North Korean were killed four hours later in another gun battle; and one more was killed after his comrade threw a grenade, injuring a South Korea soldiers, and escaped. The dead North Koreans had wild berries and chestnuts in their pockets. Four others were killed later.
Describing the gun battle with one group of commando, one South Korea soldier said, "We climbed about 150 meters and found four North Korean agents about 30 meters ahead. Firing shots into the air we urged them to surrender. But they opened fire, so we responded." Another soldier said, "I think each of us fired 20 to 30 rounds. Then they stopped firing. So we approached them and found three dead with gunshot wounds in their heads and chests."
A week after the submarine was discovered at least one North Korean and possibly seven were still on the loose in the rugged mountains around Kangnung. Three South Korea soldiers and a mushroom picker caught in crossfire were killed in the fighting.
Submarines in the Late 1990s
In June 1998, a North Korean submarine was captured after it got stuck in a fishing net 11 miles off South Korea. The bodies of nine dead North Koreans were found on board with single gunshot wounds in their heads. A month later a dead North Korean commando was found near a five-person cone-shaped, aluminum submersible boat. He was carry a Czech-made=machine gun, a hand grenade, radio transmission gear and an underwater camera.
"There were some signs of disagreement among them about whether to commit a group suicide," a South Korean general said. "It appears as if five were shot first by the remaining four, who then killed themselves afterward." The 60-foot-long Yugi-class submarine was believed to have been involved in a mission to pick up or drop off infiltrators. The captain of the fishing vessel said the submarine's periscope became entangle din the net and crew members couldn't cut the nets before South Korea military forces arrived.
In December 1999, South Korean naval forces sank a North Korean spy vessel about 80 miles south of Pusan. Twelve navy vessels and three naval fighters chased it and sank it in dawn shoot-out, killing the North Korean crew.
Battles in the Yellow Sea in 1999
On June 15, 1999, South Korean warships sunk a North Korean patrol boat and damaged two others after a fierce 10 minute gun and artillery battle in the Yellow Sea in a disputed area between North Korean and South Korean territorial waters. Twenty to thirty North Korean sailors are believed to have died. Seven South Korea sailors were injured. It was the first naval clash between the two Koreas since the Korean War. There had been some other incidents but they involved North Korean spy vessels not navy ships).
The clash began when four North Korea patrol boats and three torpedo boats entered South Korean waters and opened fire with 25mm cannons on eight South Korean vessels. Some of the South Korean boats returned fire with 35mm guns. The North Korea boat that was sunk was a 40-ton torpedo boat. A 155-ton North Korean vessel was near sinking but managed to limp back to North Korean waters. The South Korean vessels suffered only minimal damage.
Patrols boats from North and South Korea had been harassing each other for about a week. The standoff began when North Korean patrol boats escorted North Korean crab fishermen to disputed waters as they often do and the situation escalated when South Korean vessels repeatedly rammed North Korea vessels, driving them back onto North Korean waters. Pyongyang later apologized over the issue.
Battle in the Yellow Sea in 2002
June 29, 2002: A South Korean ship was sunk and six sailors killed in another Yellow Sea clash. It occurred while South Korea was co-hosting the 2002 World Cup soccer tournament with Japan. An estimated 13 North Koreans died.
This incident began when North Korean gun boats crossed the maritime border in the Yellow Sea, and opened fire on a South Korean patrol boat, sinking it and killing five South Korea sailors and wounding 19. In what was described as a premeditated surprise attack, North Korean vessels crossed into South Korean waters, causing South Korean vessels to then split and then concentrated 85-millimeter canon fire on a lone South Korean frigate, which was sunk.
The battle lasted for about 30 minutes. South Korean fired upon the attacking North Korean vessels. Around 30 North Koreans are believed to have been killed but how many is not known for sure because the North Korean vessels they were on were able to escape to North Korean waters. The extent of the damage to the ships is also is not known.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.
Text Sources: UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, Daily NK, NK News, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, Yomiuri Shimbun, The Guardian and various books and other publications.
Updated in July 2021