North Korea denies murdering diplomat
Seoul takes security measures
October 4, 1996
Web posted at: 3:30 p.m. EDT (1930 GMT)
TOKYO (CNN) -- Communist North Korea has denied involvement
in the murder of a South Korean diplomat in Russia and
said Seoul was wrongfully accusing them.
"(South Korea) is framing a despicable plot to link our
country (to the murder)," North Korea's official newspaper
Rodong Sinmun said Friday.
The controversy began earlier in the week when Choi Duck-
keun, the South Korean consul in Russia's Far East city of
Vladivostok, was found bludgeoned to death outside his
South Korean media reports have suggested that North Korea
was behind the killing. Choi was responsible for North Korean
affairs and security at the consulate.
Friday's newspaper statement was North Korea's first official
reaction to the killing and was broadcast by Radio Pyongyang,
monitored by the Tokyo-based Radiopress news agency.
South Korea's Prime Minister Lee Soo-sung, meanwhile, ordered
security tightened at airports, warned residents that
North Korea may strike against a group of isolated islands,
and said diplomatic missions faced possible terrorist
"There is a possibility of incursion into the five
northwest islands," Lee said, referring to South Korean
islands within sight of the North Korean mainland.
Lee made his comments at a meeting of security officials
where authorities decided to beef up protection of 395 key
facilities, including airports, communication centers, ports,
and power plants.
The measures were in response to Pyongyang's threats of
retaliation for the deaths of North Korean soldiers whose
submarine ran aground on a South Korean beach some two weeks
ago. South Korean troops have either killed or found the
bodies of 22 North Korean soldiers from the incident.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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