North Korea ‘used water as weapon’

The unannounced opening of a dam in North Korea caused flash floods blamed for killing six campers south of the border.

An estimated 40 million tons of water was released without prior notice from a dam on the River Imjin, causing a pre-dawn surge in South Korea.

The authorities in the North have said the emergency release was necessary to counter rising levels in reservoirs but South Korea has demanded an apology, claiming failing to notify its neighbor about the planned release amounted to a deliberate attack.

Over a day after the release, North Korea told Seoul it had been an emergency measure and offered guarantees that it will give due notification in the future.

The incident will not help already tense relations between the two countries.

A statement from the South Korean Ministry of Unification said: “The government cannot accept the notification as a proper explanation and expresses deep regret over that the North failed to mention the loss of the lives of Korean citizens.

“The government demands the North Korean authority’s proper explanation and an apology for the loss of the lives of our citizens caused by the North’s water discharge without notice.”

Sam Bond

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