The Republic of Korea (ROK) on Thursday said the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) shot dead a missing ROK official and burned his body earlier this week, condemning its "brutality" and calling for explanations and punishment for those responsible, local media reported citing defense ministry.
The man was a government official who disappeared Monday from a South Korean ship that was checking on potential unauthorized fishing near the inter-Korean sea boundary where several inter-Korean naval skirmishes and deadly attacks blamed on North Korea have occurred.
Later in the evening, North Korean soldiers shot the man following an "order from a superior", and poured oil over the dead body to set it aflame. It had come to this conclusion based on its analysis of "diverse intelligence".
"South Korea is an extremely important neighbor and we must work together with the United States to deal with issues including North Korea", Suga told reporters after the talks.
South Korea sent a message to North Korea via a communication channel at the U.S. -led U.N. Command in South Korea on Wednesday to ask about the missing official. On the sleepy island of Yeonpyeong, the threat of conflict is constant with North Korean coastal howitzers just 11 kilometers (7 miles) away and propaganda banners visible through binoculars.
Seoul said the man had disappeared from a patrol boat near the border and was later found in the North's waters.
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The South Korean official that the DPRK is accused of killing and burning was affiliated with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
South Korea's presidential Blue House said that Moon told Suga the two countries "should find the best solution for the forced laborers" even though South Korea and Japan have different approaches on the issue.
The defence ministry also warned the DPRK that "all responsibilities for this incident lie with it".
On Wednesday, South Korea sent a message to North Korea over the case via the communication channel between the USA -led United Nations Command (UNC) and North Korea, but the North has not given any response, according to another official. A North Korean fisheries control boat approached the figure at around 3:40 p.m., and a person onboard the vessel - who was wearing a gas mask - exchanged dialogue with the castaway from a distance, the military official said.
His crossing prompted North Korean officials to put the border city of Kaesong under lockdown amid fears that he may have carried the coronavirus.