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N. Korea tries to manage situation over killing of S. Korean official: defense ministry

All News 10:33 October 07, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's quick apology for its killing of a South Korean fisheries official last month was an indication that the regime attempted to "manage the situation" to avoid turning public opinion in the South against it, the defense ministry said Wednesday.

On Sept. 22, the 47-year-old fisheries official was fatally shot by the North Korean military while being adrift in North Korean waters, according to the South Korean military. He went missing the previous day while on duty near the Yellow Sea border island of Yeonpyeong.

"Conscious of public opinion in the South regarding the incident, North Korea has attempted to manage the situation," the defense ministry said in a report for a parliamentary audit, pointing to leader Kim Jong-un's apology for the incident in response to Seoul's demand for an explanation.

The rare apology was unusually quick, coming only a day after South Korea demanded it.

"Since the incident, no unusual movements by the North Korean military have been detected. It has made all-out efforts for recovery work from damage by recent heavy rains and typhoons to wrap it up before the founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party that falls on Oct. 10," according to the ministry.

North Korea's explanations about the deadly shooting differ from Seoul's assessment in key parts. The South Korean military said the North is presumed to have incinerated the official's body, but the North claimed that what it set on fire was not his body but a floating material he used.

The communist country remains mum on the South's call for a joint investigation into the case and the restoration of the inter-Korean military hotlines that the North severed in June in anger over anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent across the border by activists here.

The military and the Coast Guard continue to search for the body of a South Korean fisheries official, who was shot to death by North Korean troops last month, in waters off the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Oct. 3, 2020, in this photo provided by the Coast Guard. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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