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(2nd LD) S. Korea sends letter to U.N. on N. Korea's mine attack

All Headlines 11:47 August 20, 2015

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details, background in last 5 paras)

SEOUL, Aug. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has informed the U.N. Security Council of the details of a recent land mine explosion blamed on North Korea, a Foreign Ministry official said Thursday.

The Aug. 4 explosion inside the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas left two South Korean soldiers seriously injured, raising tensions on the peninsula to a new high. North Korea has denied responsibility for the attack.

South Korea explained its position in a letter sent to the council's 15 member states on Tuesday, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"The letter informed (the council) of the results of our investigation into the North's mine blast, expressed regret over the North's provocation and urged restraint from further provocations," the official said.

The letter will be published into an official U.N. Security Council document and is expected to be uploaded onto its website Friday.

South Korea has condemned the mine attack as a violation of the Armistice Agreement that effectively ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

The letter does not, however, mean that the issue of the land mine attack will be automatically placed on the council's agenda, the official said.

"For now, we have sent the letter, informed the international community, raised awareness of North Korea's (provocation), and took in consideration the fact that we could use this case later on by leaving it on the record."

North Korea is widely expected to carry out a major provocation, such as a long-range rocket launch, around the 70th founding anniversary of its Workers' Party in October.

If that happens, South Korea could cite the recent landmine attack as the basis for drawing stronger punitive action from the international community against Pyongyang, according to diplomatic sources.

In May, South Korea sent a similar letter to the council's North Korea Sanctions Committee after the communist nation conducted a submarine-launched ballistic missile test in defiance of U.N. resolutions banning it from using ballistic missile technology.

North Korea has yet to respond to the South's latest move, but it remains to be seen whether it will send its own letter to the U.N. as it did after a deadly attack on a South Korean warship in May 2010 that was also blamed on the North.


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