President Moon Jae-in has called for stepped up efforts to create a conflict-free joint fishing area with North Korea along the de facto western maritime border known as the Northern Limit Line(NLL).

At Friday's ceremony to appoint the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Park Han-ki, Moon said defending the NLL with the blood of soldiers is a very noble thing, but that it would be more valuable to defend it without bloodshed.

He then said the peaceful joint fishing zone would help fishermen from both Koreas to increase their earnings, preserve their fishing grounds, and together prevent illegal fishing by foreign vessels in the area.

The NLL has long been a source of conflict and armed clashes between the two Koreas as Pyongyang had refused to recognize the line drawn by the UN command at the end of the Korean War.

During last month's Pyongyang summit, President Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to turn the area into a peace zone, partly by retreating their naval and other forces by up to 40 kilometers on both sides.