April 17 (UPI) -- A South Korean city close to the maritime border with the North is preparing plans for a joint inter-Korea fishing zone.
The coastal city of Incheon, the site of the South's biggest airport, is expected to conduct a legal study from May to October, local news service NK Economy reported Friday.
The purpose of the study is to "lay the foundations" for the joint fishing zone in accordance with three inter-Korea agreements: the 2007 North-South Summit Declaration, the 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, and the Sept. 19 inter-Korean Comprehensive Military Agreement, also signed in 2018. The study will explore the plan's compliance with international law, according to the report.
Incheon is also expected to investigate cases of joint fishing zones in other parts of the world. The purpose of the plan is to reap economic benefits for the South's fishermen, the report says.
Any proposed joint fishing area would include the Northern Limit Line, a disputed maritime demarcation line between the two Koreas.
Islands near the NLL have been a source of conflict. In 2010, North Korea bombarded Yeonpyeong island with artillery, killing four South Koreans.
In 2019, South Korean lawmakers said North Korea was violating past agreements by deploying a platoon on Hambak Island.
South Korean conservatives said Article 13 of the Armistice Agreement recognizes Hambak Island as South Korean territory. The claim came after South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said North Korean maneuvers were not a violation of an inter-Korea military agreement signed in September 2018.
North Korea may have deployed a platoon to Hambak Island for monitoring purposes, including tracking the construction of military facilities at the Northern Limit Line, keeping an eye on defecting North Koreans, and watching for Chinese fishing vessels, Jeong had said.
South Korea's audit board recently dismissed the claims of local conservatives.
According to local paper Hankook Ilbo in March, the audit board put an end to the political debate by designating Hambak Island North Korean territory.