A South Korean senior military official on Thursday confirmed that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was trying to adjust high water level when it discharged dam water which led into six South Koreans' death.
Kim Tae-young, the incumbent chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, nominated on Sept. 3 as the country's new defense minister and awaiting a parliamentary hearing, made the remark in a response letter to the National Assembly defense committee, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The government was able to confirm that the Hwanggang Dam's water reached high levels after heavy downpours, which has led a discharge in late August, and the dam was in a situation forcing another discharge, Kim said.
"There were no sufficient intelligence reports to determine this discharge in the Hwanggang Dam was a water attack," Kim was quoted by Yonhap as saying.
Six South Koreans, including one child, were killed on Sept. 5 morning after swept away by a huge wave in the Imjin River running through South Korea's western region, which originates in the DPRK. The sudden flood caused by the discharge of water from a dam in the DPRK.
The DPRK later gave the explanation that an abrupt increase of water in its border dam prompted a massive discharge, and promised to issue alerts in the future to prevent similar accident from happening.
However, Seoul expressed deep regret toward Pyongyang's response, saying that the DPRK's notice "is not sufficient enough to convince us" and demanded an apology and a further explanation. Some South Korean officials accused the DPRK of "intentionally" causing the deadly flood, and suspected Pyongyang of launching a "water attack."
On the other hand, a joint investigation carried out by South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities found that the DPRK's move appeared to be aimed at draining the water, in accord with Pyongyang's explanation, while satellite photos taken shortly before the discharge show the dam was nearly full.