Seoul suggests joint probe with Pyongyang over capturing of South Korean official

South Korea urged North Korea on Saturday to additional examine the deadly capturing of a South Korean fisheries official and recommended it might be an unprecedented joint probe by the 2 sides, as public and political outrage over the killing grew.

The transfer got here as a uncommon apology from North Korean chief Kim Jong Un seems to have failed to appease criticism over the Moon Jae-in administration’s dealing with of the accident.

After a Nationwide Safety Council assembly Friday night, South Korea’s presidential workplace mentioned it could name for a joint probe into the case with North Korea if wanted, saying there have been discrepancies in accounts of the accident from the 2 sides.

South Korea’s navy mentioned on Thursday that the North’s troopers killed the person, doused his physique in gas and set it on hearth close to the maritime border.

However the North Korean authorities mentioned in a message on Friday that its troopers shot the “unlawful intruder” and denied burning his physique.

The 2 Koreas haven’t performed joint probes into earlier accidents, together with the demise of a South Korean vacationer who was shot on the North’s mountain resort of Kumgang in 2008 and the North’s bombing of Yeonpyeong Island, which killed 4 South Koreans, in 2010. The 2 Koreas have been technically at warfare because the 1950-53 Korean Battle resulted in a truce.

“An opportunity of a joint probe is low. How on earth can we examine the North Korean navy?,” mentioned Yang Moo-jin, a professor on the College of North Korean Research in Seoul.

The North has tightened border controls because of the COVID-19 outbreak, which additional complicates the prospect of the joint investigation, he mentioned.

“Given Kim rapidly supplied a uncommon apology, there’s a chance of an alternate of written questions and solutions between the 2 Koreas,” he mentioned.

Within the message, Kim Jong Un was quoted as providing an apology for disappointing Moon and the South Korean folks.

The principle South Korean opposition Individuals Energy Occasion mentioned on Saturday Kim’s apology was not real, calling on the Moon authorities to ship the case to the Worldwide Felony Courtroom.

The Moon administration faces an intense political backlash over the way it responded to the incident, which coincided with a renewed push by the president for engagement with Pyongyang.

Critics questioned why the navy didn’t try to save lots of him regardless of allegedly recognizing him six hours earlier than he was shot lifeless.

“Peace is essential in inter-Korean relations, however a very powerful factor is the lives of our folks. Our folks had been shot by North Korea and why is there no such motion as “Korean lives matter” in South Korea?,” mentioned Thae Yong Ho, a former North Korean deputy ambassador to London who defected to the South, and have become a lawmaker.

“I’m depressed. Why are we weak in entrance of North Korea,” he mentioned at a gathering of a parliamentary process power to research the case.

The maritime ministry official was reported lacking whereas on responsibility on a fisheries boat close to the island of Yeonpyeong near South Korea’s maritime border.

South Korea’s navy mentioned the person was apparently trying to defect to the North, however his brother refuted the claims, saying that he should have had an accident. The North’s message didn’t point out whether or not he was trying to defect or not, saying the person mentioned he was from South Korea.

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