Moon strongly condemns Pyongyang’s killing of S. Korean official

Sep 25, 2020, 09:30 am

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NSC Secretary-General Suh Choo-suk speaks during a press briefing at Cheong Wa Dae on Sept. 24, 2020./ Source: Yonhap News

AsiaToday reporter Lee Seok-jong 

President Moon Jae-in on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea’s shooting a South Korean official to death and burning his body, demanding Pyongyang respond and take appropriate measures.  

According to presidential spokesperson Kang Min-seok, Moon expressed the opinion after receiving a briefing on the results of the National Security Council (NSC) session by Presidential Chief of Staff Noh Young-min and National Security Office Director Suh Hoon earlier in the day.

Moon called the killing “shocking,” stressing that it will not be tolerated for any reason. The president ordered the military to further strengthen its security posture and get fully prepared to protect the lives and safety of the people.

After the NSC meeting, NSC Secretary-General Suh Choo-suk issued a statement condemning the North Korean military’s such act, saying that it goes against international norms and humanitarianism. He called on Pyongyang to reveal the full truth behind the incident and harshly punish those responsible. 

“The North Korean military’s shooting of an unarmed South Korean civilian with no intention to resist and damaging his body cannot be justified in any reason,” Suh said. “North Korea must apologize for its inhumane behavior and take clear steps to prevent a recurrence.”

“The South Korean government will strengthen its security posture along the inter-Korean border areas including the five northwestern border islands in the West Sea, while taking all necessary measures for the safe activities of the people,” Suh said. “We warn that the government will firmly respond to any North Korean act that threatens the lives and security of South Korean people.”

“The government expresses its deepest condolences over the death of our national who was killed by North Korean soldiers after going missing in the waters near Yeonpyeong Island,” he added.

“North Korea found the man in its waters and committed an act of brutality by shooting at him and burning his body, according to our military’s thorough analysis of diverse intelligence,” the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement. “Our military strongly condemns such a brutal act and strongly urges the North to provide an explanation and punish those responsible,” the statement read.

“We sternly warn North Korea that all responsibilities for this incident lie with it,” the defense ministry said. 

According to the military authorities, colleagues of the fisheries official reported his disappearance to the Coast Guard at around 1:00 p.m. Monday. Then the man was first found in waters by a North Korean vessel at around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The man was wearing a life jacket and relying on an unidentified floating item when he was found near Deungsangot. Sailors of the North Korean vessel put gas masks on and questioned him from a distance. 

“At around 9:40 p.m., the North Korean soldiers aboard their vessel shot him and before burning his body,” the defense ministry said, adding that the act was believed to have been done in accordance with “orders from its superior authority.”

The defense ministry said investigations are underway into whether the man was seeking to defect to North Korea following reports that he was wearing a life jacket, had removed his shoes before entering the water and had used a small float, potentially signaling he had left the vessel of his own volition.

Meanwhile, officials said the case does not appear to constitute a violation of an inter-Korean military tension reduction agreement signed on Sept. 19, 2018, which calls for halting all hostile acts against each other. However, they said the incident amounts to a violation of the spirit of the inter-Korean military agreement. 

#Pyongyang #fisheries #Moon Jae-in #killing #NSC 
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