North Korea declared waters along its disputed sea border with South Korea a "firing zone" Monday and warned ships from the South to stay away from the area, which was the scene of a deadly clash last month.
The naval command in Pyongyang accused the South of "reckless military provocations" in the area - attempting to hold on to what it called an illegal border. North Korea accused its neighbor of violating its waters and staging military drills in the area and vowed to protect its border by force.
Pyongyang said Monday that it was designating the area a "peacetime naval firing zone of coastal and island artillery units" for its military, which apparently means that artillery shells could land in the waters at any time.
"All fishing boats and warships are required to take security measures by themselves in that zone to protect themselves," the naval command said in a statement, carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.