Fri, Mar 11, 2011 - Page 5 News List

N Korea violated armistice agreement, UN report says

AP and AFP, UNITED NATIONS and SEOUL

An investigation by the UN Command in Korea says that North Korea violated its armistice agreement with the South when it shelled a South Korean island in November, according to a report circulated on Wednesday by the Security Council.

The probe also found the South was justified in firing back in self-defense.

The findings of the report were ordered by the unified command of multinational military forces operating under the UN umbrella and were contained in a letter that US Ambassador Susan Rice sent to the Security Council.

The Security Council created the command to keep the peace between the North and the South after Korean War hostilities ended.

The report says no more investigation is necessary, but recommends that officials for both sides seek a political solution to their disagreements after the shelling. It also recommends that both sides seek undisputed areas to conduct their military exercises.

The investigation found that two South Korean marines and two civilians were killed. Another 16 South Korean military personnel and 52 civilians were injured, the report says, while military facilities suffered considerable damage and some homes were destroyed.

While it appears that a South Korean counterattack struck targets in North Korea, “it is not known whether any KPA or civilians were killed or injured” the report says, referring to the North’s Korean People’s Army.

Meanwhile, US and South Korean troops yesterday completed computerized joint war games denounced by the North, but field training involving a US aircraft carrier will continue through next month.

The allies launched their annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle drills on Feb. 28. They completed the 11-day Key Resolve drill, which focused on computer-based simulations, without incident, despite Pyongyang’s threats to turn Seoul into a “sea of flames” in the event of any military provocation.

The Foal Eagle exercise involves field training that will continue until April 30, military officials said.

The two exercises involve a total of 12,300 US troops and about 200,000 South Korean service members, including reservists.

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