N Korea starts releasing dam water to South

North Korea may have discharged dam water into a river flowing to the South.

Updated: Jul 19, 2010, 13:47 PM IST

Seoul: North Korea may have discharged dam water into a river flowing to South Korea, similar to an unannounced move it made last year causing a surge that killed six people.

The North Korean dam is believed to have started releasing about 1,000 tons of water per second last night, Land Ministry official Moon Kwang-hyuk said on Monday. The surge was not serious and caused no damage in South Korea.

The North told the South through a military hot line yesterday that it may have to release dammed water if there was no letup in torrential rain that has pounded the peninsula in recent days, the Unification Ministry said.

South Korea built a large anti-flooding dam in response to the construction of the North Korean dam, which discharged an estimated 40 million tons of water into the Imjin River last September, killing six people.

At the time, some South Korean media speculated Pyongyang meant the move as an attack but the North later said it had to release water because levels at its own dam were dangerously high. It promised to warn Seoul of similar surges in the future.

The North`s notice came amid persistent tension in the wake of the March sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang.

An international investigation said in May a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo that sank the warship Cheonan, killing 46 South Korean sailors. The North flatly denies it launched an attack and has warned any punishment would trigger war.

The two Koreas are still technically at war because their conflict in the 1950s ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

PTI