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N. Korean Killing of A South Korean Gov't Worker At Sea: Getting To The Bottom of The Truth With Moon Chung-in, Special Advisor to S. Korean President Moon Jae-in Updated: 2020-09-29 16:41:39 KST

Kim Jong-un is not known for apologies; least of all to his southern neighbor.
But after his army shot and killed a South Korean man in North Korean waters, the North Korean leader made a rare show of remorse.
On Monday, a South Korean government worker on a ship went missing.
He was found by North Korean soldiers adrift at sea.
South Korea says the man was shot, killed and burned at sea.
In a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Chairman Kim Jong-un called the killing "disgraceful affairs." He said he had disappointed the South Korean people.

Despite the rare apology, public and political outrage continues to grow here in South Korea and tensions are rising on the peninsula.

Issues at hand, let's get down to it. Joining us live in the studio is Moon Chung-in, Special Advisor to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for Foreign Affairs and National Security.
Professor Moon, great to have you with us.



As you are well aware, there are many controversial issues surrounding this case.
First of all, discrepancies in accounts of the incident between the South Korean military and North Korea.
South Korea said that the man was shot and then his body was set on fire by the North Koreans. North Korea has denied that allegation while admitting that its guards fired blanks and later "ten rounds" of gunfire into the unidentified "intruder," as he did not reveal his identity and appeared to flee.
The North claims they had burnt the floating device the South Korean washed up on but did not find his body. How does South Korea explain this discrepancy? Why is it not demanding that the North clarify this discrepancy?

After the killing of a South Korean civilian - a 47-year-old employee of the South's maritime agency - Seoul announced that North Korea's Kim Jong-un wrote a letter saying he was "very sorry" for "disappointing" the South Korean people. But does that really clear up the matter?

South Korean officials found out that North Korean troops had shot dead this South Korean government worker and according to South Korean account, set his body on fire, Tuesday night.
By early Wednesday morning at around 1 a.m., security-related ministers and officials were discussing this issue. A little after that, President Moon's pre-recorded speech to the UN General Assembly was played at the UN headquarters in New York - during which President Moon proposed international support in end-of-war declaration on the Korean peninsula and launching of a regional cooperation initiative involving China, Japan, Mongolia and the two Koreas.
How do we make sense out of this? Did the president make this offer knowing North Korea had shot dead a South Korean national?

Critics, including conservative lawmakers here in the nation, accuse the Moon administration of inaction after military officials revealed the man was spotted in North Korean waters about six hours before he was killed.
At first, the government claimed it was impossible to notify North Korea of its citizen stranded in North Korean waters as no communication line between the two Koreas remain alive.
That turned out otherwise with the Blue House revealing that President Moon and North Korean leader Kim had exchanged letters earlier this month and the NIS received a message from the North on Friday.
Could President Moon not have used this communication line or give directives to rescue the South Korean within the three to six hour window that he had?

There are those who also criticize the president's lack of action after the death of the South Korean.
Even as his top security aides were holding a National Security Council meeting at the top office, President Moon was not briefed on the matter. Rather, he was briefed the next morning - roughly seven and a half hours after the NSC meeting. Then, President Moon did not issue any remarks about the incident for 33 hours after being fully briefed on the case. Critics and conservative lawmakers question whether this constitutes negligence of duty on the part of the president. Your thoughts?

On Sunday, North Korea accused the South of sending vessels across the western maritime border in search of the South Korean's remains, warning that the alleged intrusion could escalate tensions.
South Korea's military and coast guard insist they have been searching only in waters south of the boundary.
Question: North Korea has never - since the division of the two Koreas more than seven decades ago - recognized the Northern Limit Line as the maritime border. Which border is it talking about and if it is indeed the NLL, what is the South's response to the North's sudden recognition of this sea border?

President Moon Jae-in issued a public apology for the first time on Monday for the death of this South Korean man saying his government had failed in its responsibility to safeguard a citizen.
He said - here I quote him - "Our hope is that this tragic incident doesn't just end as an incident; instead creates room for dialogue and cooperation becoming an opportunity to develop South-North relations."
This quote of his is also drawing public outrage. How can we interpret these remarks by President Moon?

By international standards, when you find an unarmed person virtually drowning at sea, the right thing to do is first to save him and then perhaps interrogate him rather than to shoot at him.
There are critics in the international community who are now skeptical about dialogue with North Korea as the regime has only reinforced its own image as one that is far from a normal state with its brutal, inhumane killing and burning of a civilian. Do you not agree with them?

South Korea suggested a joint investigation with North Korea into this death of a South Korean government worker. That was hours after a rare apology from Kim Jong-un. The North has yet responded to this offer. How realistic is this joint probe?

Moon Chung-in, Special Advisor to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for Foreign Affairs and National Security, thank you for speaking with us today. We appreciate it.
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