The South Korean military has confirmed that North Korea shot and killed a South Korean government official earlier this week after the official floated into North Korean waters near the western border island of Yeongpyeong-do.
For more on this, defense ministry correspondent Kim Ji-yeon is on the line.
Ji-yeon, tell us the latest.
In a statement released by Seoul's defense ministry this morning the military said it had been made aware by local maritime authorities that at around one-PM on Monday a Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries official had gone missing south of Yeonpyeong-do island.
The 47-year-old official disappeared while on duty aboard an inspection boat patrolling the southern part of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto inter-Korean maritime border.
Upon analyzing various intel the defense ministry confirmed the North had shot and killed the official and burned his body.
The military has strongly criticized the North for its brutality and urged the North for an explanation and to punish those responsible.
"Upon close analysis of the related information, our military has confirmed that North Korea has committed a brutal act by shooting dead and burning the body of a South Korean national who was found in the North's waters. The South Korean military strongly condemns North Korea's brutality and demands an explanation from the North, and the person in charge to be punished."
The South Korean military sent out a statement to the North on Wednesday afternoon through the United Nations Command communication line but the North is yet to respond.
The military says the regime has imposed a shoot-to-kill order to prevent any possible COVID-19 spread by people crossing into the North.
The South Korean military official confirmed the North Korean military had intentionally shot the man a day after he arrived in the North and then used gasoline to burn his body, which was near the water.
The South Korean military says it monitored a flame during the burning and that the incident is not accidental but had been ordered by those higher up in the North Korean regime.
The military says it cannot find the remains of the body afterwards.
Going against the family members of the deceased man.. the South Korean military says the man could have intentionally crossed into the North as he left his shoes behind, was wearing a life jacket and had floating items with him during his crossing.
It is the first time since July 2008 that a South Korean civilian has been shot dead in North Korea.
Back in 2008, Park Wang-ja was shot and killed at the North's Kumgang mountain resort after wandering into a restricted zone.
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