North Korea threatens escalation in tensions unless South Korea ‘halt border incursions’

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North Korean news agency KCNA said: “We urge the south side to immediately halt the intrusion across the military demarcation line in the west sea that may lead to escalation of tensions.” On Friday Kim Jong-un gave a rare apology for the shooting dead of the South’s fisheries official who had strayed into North Korean waters. Seoul reported the man was shot then his body was doused in petrol and set alight.

The North challenge this claim by saying only the floating device the man was using was set alight as a precaution against coronavirus contamination.

Both sides now hope to resolve the issue by holding a joint investigation into the killing.

In a rare exhibition of maturity, North Korea called the killing “an awful case that should not have happened”.

South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has asked for military hotlines between north and south be re-activated to prevent further incidents.

President Moon then called Kim Jong-un’s apology “unprecedented, very rare and special”.

He declared it was a sign the North want to repair relations between the opposing sides.

Speaking from Seoul the South Korean president reiterated that communication was the only way to resolve tensions between both sides.

But observers warn the motivation behind this perceived reasonableness is an eagerness to make gains at the currently stalled talks on international sanctions levied at the reclusive state.

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South Korea has deployed 39 vessels in its search.

This includes 16 naval ships, and six naval aircraft.

North Korean news agency KCNA has announced it is conducting a simultaneous search.

KCNA news stated: “We have taken more necessary security measures in order to make sure that no more incident spoiling the relations of trust and respect between the north and the south would happen in any case.”


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South Korea maintains its search vessels have only been in waters south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL).

South Korea Coast Guard Lieutenant Lee Hong-chear said: “We have never crossed the Northern Limit Line to the North’s side, but there have been differences in how the two Koreas mark the waters.”

The NLL is a disputed lined that was drawn between each state after the ceasefire at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

In 1953 only a ceasefire was signed meaning the no formal peace treaty between both countries is in place.

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