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N. Korea Apologizes for Shooting Death of S. Korean Official on West Sea

Write: 2020-09-25 15:51:50Update: 2020-09-25 18:48:56

N. Korea Apologizes for Shooting Death of S. Korean Official on West Sea

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: North Korea sent a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday apologizing for the shooting death of a South Korean official in the West Sea. The North also pledged to take steps to prevent such incidents from happening again. But the country did not explain what prompted its soldiers to fire multiple rounds at an unarmed civilian, explaining only that they were following orders. 
Sam Len reports.

Report: North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party United Front Department sent a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday apologizing for the shooting death of a South Korean fisheries official who was apparently found adrift on the West Sea earlier this week near North Korea's coast.

The letter included North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s stance on the incident.

The North said in the letter that it feels "extremely sorry" for what it referred to as a "disgraceful incident."

Portions of the letter were read aloud by South Korea's National Security Advisor Suh Hoon in a nationally televised newscast.

[Sound bite: National Security Advisor Suh Hoon (Korean/English translation)]
"Chairman Kim Jong-un told us to convey his stance that he is extremely sorry for causing so much disappointment to President Moon Jae-in and our brethren in the south due to the incident in our waters, instead of offering help as they are threatened by a malicious virus." 

The letter explained that North Korean troops stationed along its coast discovered an unidentified individual who had infiltrated deep into its territorial waters.

The North Korean soldiers approached within 80 meters of the unidentified individual who was on a flotation device and urged him to identify himself, only to hear him make inaudible comments.

The North Korean soldiers fired two warning shots causing the individual to duck in fear, according to the letter, and then fired around ten more shots from a distance of 40 to 50 meters, according to what the reclusive state claimed was its "code of conduct." 

After finding no signs of movement, the soldiers came within ten meters of the flotation device, but found only a large amount of blood and no body. The soldiers then incinerated the flotation device according to North Korea's quarantine regulations. 

South Korea's national security advisor said the North pledged to take steps not to damage the trust that has been built up between the two Koreas.

[Sound bite: National Security Advisor Suh Hoon (Korean/English translation)]
"Our leadership will become more vigilant so that the small level of trust and respect that has been built up between the North and South recently will not be destroyed and reiterate the need for necessary safety measures." 

But the North also voiced strong regret at what it described as South Korea's "unilateral conjecture" and calls for a reprisal. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, citing military intelligence, reported that the body of the official appeared to have been incinerated at sea.
  
South Korea's national security advisor said the government will use the latest incident to review inter-Korean relations and strive to pursue cross-border ties that live up to the expectations of South Koreans.
Sam Len, KBS World Radio News.

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