It was of extreme importance that North Korea expressed regret after a recent violent clash with South Korea in the Yellow Sea, said Igor Ivanov, Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, while on an official visit to South Korea.
As Pyongyang's regret shows, North Korea is willing to step up an inter-Korean dialogue and will do what it can for the Yellow Sea drama not to torpedo dynamically progressing contacts. "We hope Seoul will duly appreciate that goodwill act. Our South Korean partners were saying the same," remarked the minister.
North and South Korean warships clashed in the Yellow Sea, June 29, as each of the two Koreas has its own opinion on the demarcation line between their territorial waters. That was only one of the many similar clashes.
That time, several dozen North Korean fishing vessels entered a disputable area. Warships who were accompanying them opened artillery fire as South Korean patrol boats ordered them to go back. The very first shell got into a South Korean warship's operations room to kill four and injure 22. The ship caught fire and sank in no time.
North Korea assumes casualties on its side, too, though providing no facts and figures.
Pyongyang officially announced regret, July 25, and called Seoul to resume intergovernmental negotiations, which North Korea suspended, May last, after it discerned an unfriendly undercurrent to several South Korean officials' pronouncements.