DPRK blames ROK for 'deliberate provocation'

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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Wednesday released a report, claiming the recent Yonphyong Island shelling incident was a "deliberate provocation" of South Korea.

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The detailed report, released by the Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, disclosed the truth and nature of the shelling incident in the West Sea of Korea, the official news agency KCNA reported Thursday.

The KCNA said the report clarified internally and externally "who was the provocateur and who was to wholly blame for it."

The motive of the incident and the background "make it clearer that it was a deliberate provocation" of South Korea, the report said.

South Korea "fired as many as thousands of shells into the territorial waters of the DPRK side," the KCNA quoted the report as saying.

"This reckless act was obviously a deliberate provocation to prompt the DPRK to take a military counteraction," it said.

While South Korea was the direct provocateur, the United States was "a wire-puller and chieftain" of the incident, the report added.

Tensions have mounted on the Korean Peninsula after the DPRK and South Korea exchanged artillery fire on Nov. 23 in waters near the disputed sea border known as the Northern Limit Line (NLL).

During the incident, shells landed on South Korea's Yonphyong Island near the NLL, leaving four dead.

The so-called NLL, which was declared unilaterally by the U.S.-led United Nations Command after the 1950-1953 Korean War, remains a source of tensions and skirmishes between the two sides of the peninsula.

South Korea regards the NLL as the de-facto Western inter-Korean border, but the DPRK has rejected the NLL and only recognized the demarcation line it drew in 1999, which was further south of the NLL.

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