North and South Korean officials attended a meeting of the Military Armistice Commission in Panmunjom on Tuesday (31 July) to discuss the recent armed attack on a South Korean patrol boat, which resulted in the death of two policemen.
North and South Korean officials attended a meeting of the Military Armistice Commission in Panmunjom on Tuesday (31 July) to discuss the recent armed attack on a South Korean patrol boat, which resulted in the death of two policemen. The American-led United Nations Command has offered to hand over the bodies of six of the attackers to North Korea, but North Korea has refused to accept them, since it claims the episode was a complete fabrication.
SYNOPSIS: Ever since the 1953 armistice agreement was signed bringing an end to the Korean war, regular meetings have been held between North and South Korea in Panmunjom, a village in the middle of the four-kilometre (two and a half mile) wide de-militarised zone, which divides the two countries. But more often than not, the discussions have produced endless bouts of bitter exchanges rather than concrete results. On Tuesday, the Commission met to discuss South Korean allegations that a North Korean vessel had conducted an unprovoked attack on a South Korean patrol boat on June the twenty-first.
According to U.S. Rear Admiral Stephen Hostettler, the chief United Nations Command(UNC) delegate to the Commission, two South Korean policemen were killed and another critically wounded when the North Korean boat - disguised as a fishing vessel -- opened fire. He claimed that the North Korean boat was subsequently sunk by South Korean naval vessels and that no survivors were reported. Arms of North Korean origin and a crewman's notebook, recovered from the intruder vessel, were produced as evidence by Rear Admiral Hostettler. The weapons included a North Korean rocket launcher, rifles, ammunition and a small underwater delivery vehicles.
U.S. intelligence experts believe the North Korean boat was on an electronic surveillance mission to spy on a Naval base in south-eastern Korea. North Korea has dismissed the incident as a 'complete fabrication' -- designed to justify what it calls the illegal occupation of South Korea by the United States.