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Koreas Remain Tense 10 Days After North-South Sea Battle

Tensions on the divided Korean peninsula remain high Tuesday, 10 days after a sea battle between North and South Korea erupted on a disputed maritime border. North Korea is warning of renewed fighting if the South does not comply with its demands.

A North Korean statement Tuesday says South Korea can recover the Navy patrol boat it lost during the June 29 clash, but only if Seoul first notifies the North of its plans.

The communist country warns that new fighting could break out if South Korea ignores the demand. The government in Seoul says any attempts to block the salvage operation will be viewed as military provocation.

Both sides have accused the other of starting the 20-minute naval skirmish, which killed four South Korean and an unknown number of North Korean sailors.

Pyongyang insists the South Korean patrol boat was in its territorial waters in the Yellow Sea when it went down. But Seoul maintains that during the battle all of its ships were well below the maritime border known as the Northern Limit Line (NLL). The North has never recognized the NLL, which the United Nations unilaterally imposed after the Korean War ended in 1953 in a truce, not a peace treaty. After the rival's last naval clash three years ago, Pyongyang declared its own border south of the NLL.

Late Tuesday, the North Korean military issued a statement reiterating Pyongyang's demand, first made in 1973, that the line be redrawn. The statement says the verbal exchanges between the two Koreas since June 29 will stop only when the sea border is discussed and fixed.

On Sunday, Pyongyang accused South Korea of sending two warships across the disputed border, a claim Seoul dismissed as groundless.