North silent as South Korea seeks prior notice on dam water release

Seoul on alert as water levels rise due to rains in North Korea.

North silent as South Korea seeks prior notice on dam water release

South Korea failed to garner a response from the North on the release of water from dams near their border, with Seoul pressing again on Wednesday for an update on rising water levels.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry said officials on the other side “remained unresponsive” for the second day.

Seoul wants Pyongyang to inform it in advance before releasing water from dams across the border during this year’s rainy season.

Seoul put forth a formal request through a regular phone call via the inter-Korean joint liaison office today.

However, Pyongyang “did not mention whether it was willing to accept the formal note from the South Korean government,” Yonhap News Agency reported.

Rising water levels in North Korea due to rains have put authorities in South Korea on alert.

The South Korean government tried to make a similar request on Tuesday but Pyongyang did not respond “apparently due to technical glitches on its side.”

Seoul sent a verbal request through a military hotline asking Pyongyang to “notify Seoul of its plan, if any, to release dam water close to the border.”

The divided Koreas hold two phone calls a day.

Pyongyang agreed in a 2009 inter-Korean agreement to inform the South beforehand of its plans to release dam water.

The agreement was struck following a deadly accident that killed six South Koreans after Pyongyang released water from Hwanggang Dam without prior notice.

The North, however, released water in 2020 without informing Seoul.

‘North Korea responsible for death of South Korean official’

A UN expert has held Pyongyang responsible for the death of a South Korean fisheries official in 2020.

“I have said that the government of North Korea is responsible for violating the right and killing this fisheries official,” Tomas Ojea Quintana, the outgoing UN special rapporteur on North Korea, told a news conference in Seoul.

The South Korean was shot dead by North Korean border forces in September 2020, “with the secretive state’s strict measures in place to stave off the spread of COVID-19,” read a Yonhap report.

Quintana said Pyongyang is supposed “to disclose information about what happened to him, to punish those who shot him in the sea and to provide reparations to the family.”

Hüseyin Demir