Seoul: North Korea on Thursday defended its deadly
attack last month on a South Korean border island, saying the
South`s "puppet warmongers" provoked the incident to try to
spark a wider conflict.
Pyongyang repeated claims it was merely retaliating for a
South Korean military drill which had dropped "thousands of
shells" into the North`s waters.
The November 23 attack on Yeonpyeong island was the first
on civilian-populated areas since the 1950-53 war. It killed
two civilians and two marines, destroyed 29 homes and
triggered a regional crisis.
The island is just south of the Yellow Sea border known
as the Northern Limit Line, which was drawn by United Nations
forces after the war.
The North does not recognise the line and says it should
run further to the south.
The North said the island lies "deep inside" its
"The puppet warmongers fired as many as thousands of
shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK (North) side,"
it said in the report carried by the official news agency
"This reckless act was obviously a deliberate provocation
to prompt the DPRK to take a military counter-action."
The South has said its troops were merely conducting a
routine drill. But the North said the United States had
engineered the incident.
"Since the above-said shelling incident the US has
massively supplied the latest weapons to the puppet group
while zealously egging it on to carry out what it called
`retaliation plan`," it said.
"This fact goes to clearly prove that the US was the arch
criminal who orchestrated and wire-pulled the incident behind
Pyongyang previously expressed regret at the death of
civilians but said Seoul`s military was using them as human
The shelling sparked outrage in the South, which has sent
more troops and artillery to frontline islands.
The US and South Korean navies last week staged their
biggest-ever naval exercise, and have said they will respond
to any further attacks.