After going over a maritime border into the Hermit Kingdom, a government worker from South Korea was shot dead by a North Korean patrol vessel, Thursday.
According to CNN, an official from the Joint Chief of Staff in South Korea, Lt. Gen. Ahn Young-ho stated that a Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries worker has been reported missing about 1.9 kilometers to the south of Yeonpyeong Islands amid the vast waters on the 21st of September.
In a statement from an official of South Korea's Defense Ministry, the missing South Korean worker was discovered by a North Korean fisheries organization vessel in the waters near Yeonpyeong Islands. The man found floating on a large flotsam, still wearing a life jacket, and looked very exhausted.
The said government worker was said to be in the process of defecting to the rogue nation.
Based on the statement of the Defense Ministry officials, the man was allowed by a member of the crew from the North Korean vessel to give his testimony. However, shortly after giving his statement, the man was shot at by a North Korean patrol vessel, killing him.
It was also stated that a soldier who was wearing a gas mask approached the body of the attempted defector and burned it down.
South Korea Condemns the North's Actions
Following the incident, the South Korean military released a statement strongly condemning the atrocities of the North. They also called Pyongyang to investigate the matter and come up with an explanation of the incident, demanding punishment for the responsible parties.
The statement also emphasized that it will hold North Korea accountable for the cruel act done to the South Korean worker.
Moreover, Daily Express reported that Yoh Sang-key, spokesman of the Unification Ministry labeled the incident as a 'cold water' thrown over the consistent efforts by the ministry to create an inter-Korean reconciliation and peace. He also added that it is the exact opposite of the peace that people in the Korean Peninsula is yearning.
Tensions between the Korean nations have been rising since the two parties decided to cut off their communication lines in June. Pyongyang initiated the cutting off of communications after it blew up a joint liaison office on their side of the border.
The stain in the relations between the two nations comes after years of rapprochement which was led by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. The said rapprochement has resulted in several summits between US President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
However, the meetings between the leaders did not reap significant results. Instead, the North has taken a more strident tone towards its southern counterpart. The stance shifted after the dictator's sister was given additional powers in the regime.
This is not the first time that a South Korean citizen was killed in the North. Back in 2008, a South Korean tourist was shot at a ski resort at Mt. Kumgang. In addition, in 2010, 50 people were killed by the North in separate incidents, including 46 sailors, two marines and two civilians.