The Northern Limit Line is a disputed maritime border between North and South Korea. It extends from the west coast of Korea where it curves northward, effectively isolating five remote South Korean-controlled islands.

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A painting is seen around the site where a shell landed during the 2010 North Korean attack on the island of Yeonpyeong. In 2010 North Korea fired multiple shells onto the island killing four people, including two civilians.Reuters

Baengnyeong, which is closer to Pyongyang than Seoul, is a heavily militarised island whose residents live in constant fear of possible clashes between two armies.

Another island, Yeonpyeong, was shelled by North Korean rockets and artillery in November 2010 when South Korean marines were conducting artillery drills on the island.

In subsequent years, the South Korean government has increased its military presence on the islands. Cliff tops are adorned with cruise missiles capable of striking Pyongyang, and the beaches are lined with barbed wire, soldiers, and mines.

The line was drawn up at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War and North Korea does not recognise it. The two sides are still technically at war as the conflict ended in a mere truce, not a treaty.

Children play in front of a tank on the island of Baengnyeong.
Children play in front of a tank on the island of Baengnyeong.Reuters
A sign warning of mines hangs on razor wire on the island of Baengnyeong.
A sign warning of mines hangs on razor wire on the island of Baengnyeong.Reuters
A map showing the location of the island of Baengnyeong.
A map showing the location of the island of Baengnyeong.Google
A South Korean soldier looks out to sea from a watchtower on Yeonpyeong island, which lies just inside the South Korean side of the Northern Limit Line.
A South Korean soldier looks out to sea from a watchtower on Yeonpyeong island, which lies just inside the South Korean side of the Northern Limit Line.Getty
'Defectors telephone' is written on a phone on a wall at a heavily fortified beach on the island of Baengnyeong.
'Defectors telephone' is written on a phone on a wall at a heavily fortified beach on the island of Baengnyeong.Reuters
South Korean soldiers walk past a barbed wire fortification on a beach on the island of Baengnyeong.
South Korean soldiers walk past a barbed wire fortification on a beach on the island of Baengnyeong.Reuters
A dummy of a soldier is seen behind a fence on a beach facing North Korea on Yeonpyeong island.
A dummy of a soldier is seen behind a fence on a beach facing North Korea on Yeonpyeong island.Reuters
A soldier walks toward a model plane, which one marine said was used by the South Korean army for target practice, on a beach on Yeonpyeong island.
A soldier walks toward a model plane, which one marine said was used by the South Korean army for target practice, on a beach on Yeonpyeong island.Reuters
South Korean marines sleep on the ferry travelling to the mainland from the island of Yeonpyeong.
South Korean marines sleep on the ferry travelling to the mainland from the island of Yeonpyeong.Reuters
South Korean military personnel gather on the beach on the island of Yeonpyeong, which lies on the South Korean side of the Northern Limit Line, a disputed maritime border that wraps itself round a part of the North's coastline.
South Korean military personnel gather on the beach on the island of Yeonpyeong, which lies on the South Korean side of the Northern Limit Line, a disputed maritime border that wraps itself round a part of the North's coastline.Reuters
A man points towards a monument for the 46 deceased navy sailors of the sunken ship Cheonan on the island of Baengnyeong. South Korean naval corvette Cheonan, which was believed to be torpedoed by North Korea, killing 46 sailors, sank on 26 March 2010, off the south Baengnyeong Island, near the disputed sea border with the north.
A man points towards a monument for the 46 deceased navy sailors of the sunken ship Cheonan on the island of Baengnyeong. South Korean naval corvette Cheonan, which was believed to be torpedoed by North Korea, killing 46 sailors, sank on 26 March 2010, off the south Baengnyeong Island, near the disputed sea border with the north.Reuters
Kim Ho-soon, a 66-year-old fisherwoman, adjusts her mask as she prepares to dive off the island of Baengnyeong.
Kim Ho-soon, a 66-year-old fisherwoman, adjusts her mask as she prepares to dive off the island of Baengnyeong. "North Korea doesn't bother us...[South Korean] military, China and reporters are ones that bother us," said Kim.Reuters
Drying fish hang from hooks in a small fishing port on the island of Baengnyeong.
Drying fish hang from hooks in a small fishing port on the island of Baengnyeong.Reuters

In March this year, an unmanned drone crashed onto Baengnyeong Island. The drone measured about seven feet in length and was equipped with a small camera. Aerial photos of several South Korean cities and the presidential palace were discovered on the camera.

A South Korean military inquiry suggested that the unmanned aircraft was flown by North Korea to conduct reconnaissance missions.

The wreckage of a crashed drone is seen on Baengnyeong Island on 31 March 2014.
The wreckage of a crashed drone is seen on Baengnyeong Island on 31 March 2014.South Korean Defence Ministry via Getty Images
An aerial image of Jichuk station, just northwest of Seoul, found on a drone's camera.
An aerial image of Jichuk station, just northwest of Seoul, found on a drone's camera.South Korean Defence Ministry via Getty Images
An aerial image of the South Korean city of Goyang, taken by a camera on an unmanned drone that crashed onto a disputed border island.
An aerial image of the South Korean city of Goyang, taken by a camera on an unmanned drone that crashed onto a disputed border island.South Korean Defence Ministry via Getty Images