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N. Korea accuses S. Korea of provoking Nov. attack on border island

All Headlines 22:09 February 23, 2011

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea claimed Wednesday that the attack on a South Korean border island last November was in response to a provocation made by the South, its state-run news agency said, citing an open letter issued by an investigative team Pyongyang launched to look into the incident.

"Our military sent a telephone message to the puppet government ... in order to keep peace and stability on the peninsula by preventing military confrontation but the group of traitors turned to its artillery on Yeonpyeong Island and fired toward our territorial waters," said the letter carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

"No military would condone such warmongers bent on firing toward its own territorial waters," it added, apparently justifying its attack on Yeonpyeong Island.

The claim by North Korea's investigative team from the National Defense Commission came as tensions remain high between the two Koreas after two marines and two civilians were killed in the North's Nov. 23 shelling of the island located near its western sea border with the communist country.

About eight months earlier, the North torpedoed a South Korean warship near the western sea border, killing 46 sailors. Pyongyang denies any involvement in the attack.

South and North Korea recently held their first military talks since the Yeonpyeong incident, but the efforts ended in failure because the regime refused to acknowledge its responsibility for its recent provocations.

Observers here believe that the North's claim that the Yeonpyeong Island bombardment was provoked by the South is intended to blame Seoul for the failed military talks.

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