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South Korea says Chinese warships searching waters where N.Korea rocket crashed

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SEOUL (Reuters) – Chinese warships are conducting salvage operations in waters where a North Korean space rocket crashed last month, South Korea said on Monday.

The South Korean military is carrying out its own search for wreckage of the North Korean space vehicle that plunged into waters near the west coast island of Eocheongdo.

The rocket came down in the sea at a point where the exclusive economic zones of China and South Korea meet, according to the South Korean military. South Korea has pulled some debris from water including a large cylindrical object.

“Regarding the Chinese vessels, a salvage operation is currently being carried out at a point 200 km (124 miles) west of Eocheongdo, and the waters are open sea,” Lee Sung-jun, spokesperson for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a regular briefing on Monday.

“We understand that some Chinese warships are active in that open sea,” Lee said, adding that there were “no disturbances” around the Chinese activity that required any response from the South Korean side.

His comments came after NK News, a Seoul-based website monitoring North Korea, reported on Friday that Chinese vessels have intensified patrols in the Yellow Sea where debris from North Korea’s failed satellite launch fell.

On May 31, North Korea launched its first spy satellite into space, although it ended in failure with the booster and payload plunging into the sea. It has vowed to conduct another satellite launch soon.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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