The South Korean military has confirmed that North Korea shot and killed a South Korean government official earlier this week after the official disappeared from his boat and drifted into North Korean waters near the western border island of Yeongpyeong-do.
The 47-year-old official had been on duty aboard an inspection boat on Monday.
South Korea says a North Korean solider shot and killed the official and burned his body.
The military says the incident was not accidental but had been ordered by those higher up in the North Korean chain of command and raised the possibility that the North has issued a shoot-to-kill order along the inter-Korean border to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The motive and circumstances of the man's crossing into the North are being investigated by South Korean police.
The military official confirmed the man left his shoes behind, was wearing a life jacket and had other items floating with him.