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NK releases dam water without notifying South, in defiance of agreement

The Pilseung Bridge in the upper region of Imjin River. (Yonhap)
The Pilseung Bridge in the upper region of Imjin River. (Yonhap)

North Korea has recently released water from a border dam three times without notifying Seoul, in defiance of an inter-Korean agreement, authorities here confirmed on Tuesday. 

Pyongyang partially opened the floodgates at Hwanggang Dam, 42 kilometers north of the western border with the South, unleashing water into Imjin River on Monday, stoking concern that it could raise water levels here. A Unification Ministry official said that since July, the North has discharged water from the dam three times, but failed to notify Seoul in advance. 

He added the water level at Pilseung Bridge near the border, which serves as gauge of the North’s water discharge, was 2.99 meters as of 7 a.m., and has not reached a level of concern. 

“The government is cooperating closely with several institutions, maintaining communication and strictly following the response system,” the official said. 

The unilateral release is a violation of a 2009 agreement under which the North agreed to give prior warning to the South any time it released water from the dam. It was made following a deadly accident that killed six South Koreans in September that year after the North released waters from the dam without notice. 

“The government maintains the position that the agreement between the two Koreas must be implemented,” the official said. “Once inter-Korean relations is restored, we will push ahead with inter-Korean cooperation in areas of disaster. But due to chilly political and military situation currently, it is unfortunate that cooperation during a natural disaster is not happening.”

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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