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South Korea says no to releasing recordings of officer's death

South Korea says no to releasing recordings of officer's death
The family of a South Korean fisheries ministry officer who died in North Korean territory while at sea is demanding evidence of the incident that took place on Sept. 22. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 3 (UPI) -- South Korea's military says it cannot declassify alleged video and audio evidence of the death of a South Korean man in North Korean territory, a decision being met with strong opposition from the victim's family.

Lee Rae-jin, the older brother of the 47-year-old South Korean fisheries ministry officer, said Tuesday his government wants to conceal operational failure that culminated in the death of his brother on Sept. 22, Yonhap reported Tuesday.

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"The defense ministry has no intention of sharing the information," Lee told reporters following the decision. "They are trying to cover up the failure of the maritime border operation."

The evidence at issue includes audio recordings of North Korean military personnel at the time of the incident. The South Korean military allegedly made the recordings by intercepting the North's radio communications and eavesdropping on conversations. The audio was taped between 3:30 p.m. and 10:51 p.m. on Sept. 22, the day of the incident, according to Yonhap.

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Lee is also seeking the declassification of a 40-minute video clip of what may have been the execution and burning of the victim on North Korean territory. Images of burning are believed to show what happened, the report says.

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Lee's lawyer Kim Ki-yun said Tuesday the military is declining to share the intelligence, citing concerns about national security and the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

Kim said the defense ministry would be willing to review a request from the United Nations, if the U.N. investigators ask for the intelligence.

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North Korea's Kim Jong Un apologized for the slaying, and may have ordered an investigation of the shooting death, Seoul's spy agency said Tuesday.

North Korea may have also reduced communication on its networks because of South Korean interception and public awareness of its radio communications, the national intelligence service said, according to Seoul Pyongyang News.

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