(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES throughout with more info)
SEOUL, Sept. 24 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea's killing of a South Korean fisheries official, saying the "inhumane act" amounts to pouring cold water over Seoul's efforts for inter-Korean reconciliation.
"We strongly condemn the North Korean military's shooting of an unarmed civilian and burning of his body as an inhumane act that cannot be justified for any reason," Yoh Sang-key, the ministry's spokesperson, said in a press briefing.
"This act by the North Korean military amounts to pouring cold water over our consistent patience and efforts for inter-Korean reconciliation and peace and runs directly counter to the yearning of our people," the official said.
The ministry also strongly urged North Korea to "clearly reveal who committed the incident and take all measures to prevent such an incident from happening again."
Earlier in the day, the defense ministry confirmed that the North shot and killed the 47-year-old official after he drifted into North Korean waters earlier this week. The ministry also said it sent a message to the North via the U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC), but it received no response.
The unification ministry said it has no means to communicate with the North with regard to the killing after Pyongyang cut off all inter-Korean communication lines earlier this year in anger over the sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North from the South.
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