Daily US Times: South Korea’s military said on Thursday that North Korea shot and later burned the body of a missing South Korean official. South Korea condemned the killing and demanding punishment for those responsible.
The military confirmed earlier news reports that North Korean troops shot a South Korean fisheries official after apparently attempting to defect across the two countries’ maritime border.
The defence ministry said in a statement published by Yonhap news agency: “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 stateman added: “Our military strongly condemns such a brutal act and strongly urges the North to provide an explanation and punish those responsible.”
Seoul also sternly warned North Korea that all responsibilities for this incident lie with it.
The 47-year-old was reported missing on Monday from a South Korean fisheries patrol boat when it was about 10km (6 miles) south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed line of military control that acts as the de facto maritime boundary between South and North Korea.
It was not clear how the South Korean official ended up in the water. Earlier reports said his shoes had been found on board the patrol vessel, which fuelled speculation that he had decided to defect.
The exact reason why North Korean troops shot him is not clear yet, but Yonhap News Agency reported they might have been acting under anti-coronavirus orders. Earlier this month, the United States military commander in South Korea said that North Korean troops had been given “shoot-to-kill orders” to prevent the coronavirus from entering the country.