North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has apologized for the “unexpected” and “unfortunate” killing of a South Korean official this week after he allegedly crossed the country’s waters in an attempt to make the mistake.
In a message to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim said he was “extremely sorry”, adding that the incident had escalated tensions between the two countries, “which should not have happened”, according to media reports.
The officer was shot as part of a crackdown on coronaviruses, Southern National Security Director Su Hun said at a briefing on Friday.
Kim apologized for allegedly “disappointing” Moon, adding that he hoped the incident would not harm inter-Korean relations, which had deteriorated over the summer due to leaflet propaganda by South Korean disruptors. It is unusual for a North Korean leader to publicly apologize to his South Korean counterpart on any issue.
His condemnation of the Seoul authorities’ death this week as “brutal” was aimed at easing tensions between the two Koreas, and the perpetrators should be punished.
The North’s explanation contradicted South Korean Defense Ministry claims on Thursday that the officer’s body had been burned.
According to North Korean accounts, soldiers on a patrol boat near the maritime border first fired blank shots at the man, whose name was not released, after failing to explain why he was in North Korean waters. They fired more than 10 live rounds as he tried to flee.
It added that as the troops shed light on the “material”, the man continued to adapt to the anti-cornvirus system, but could not burn the victim, claiming that he had disappeared into the water.
Earlier, a South Korean military official claimed that soldiers interrogated a man wearing a life jacket for several hours while he was in the water. The soldiers were wearing gas masks and protective clothing, the official added.
The 47-year-old official of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries went missing from a government ship on Monday while investigating an unauthorized fishing claim near Yonpiyang Island, just south of the de-facto maritime border.
Some experts doubted the claim that the man tried to be flawed. More than 30,000 people have fled to North Korea in the past two decades, with evacuations from the south to the north rare.
“Is a government official doing wrong to North Korea? I think it’s a bit strange because of the stability of the job, “said Choi Kong, vice-president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul. “Why did North Korea voluntarily shoot the North with a faulty one?”
The killings have been among a North Korean national since 2006, when North Korean soldiers shot a female tourist and said they claimed to have roamed a restricted area while traveling at the Mount Kumgang resort.
North Korea has implemented strict measures to prevent people from entering the country illegally for fear of spreading the coronavirus. The North insisted that not a single case of the virus had been recorded from neighboring China.
Pyongyang closed its border with China in January to prevent pollution, and state media reported in July that it had raised its state of emergency to the highest level.
In July, a man who returned to South Korea three years ago threatened the coronavirus when he returned to the heavily equipped border with North Korea.
His arrival prompted North Korean officials to lock down the border town and isolate several thousand people for fear of contracting the virus, although South Korean officials claim the man did not carry the virus.
Earlier this month, U.S. Forces Korea Commander Robert Abrams said North Korean authorities had issued a shoot-to-kill order to prevent the coronavirus from entering the country from China, creating a “buffer zone” on the border ready to kill special forces troops. .
This week’s shooting scene, in the Yellow Sea west of the Korean Peninsula, has become a source of occasional tension between countries that have been at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a ceasefire but not a peace treaty. .
In November 2010, North Yoniping shot down the island, killing four people in the deadliest clashes since the end of the Korean War, and ordered retaliation from the South.
Earlier this year, 446 South Korean sailors were killed when a Chinese ship was hit by a North Korean torpedo off the coast of the nearby island of Baizheong. North, however, denied attacking the ship.
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