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Gov`t Denies Saying Dam`s Water Level Hit Maximum

Posted September. 15, 2009 07:40,   


The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae and the Defense Ministry yesterday denied that the government has confirmed that a North Korean dam reached maximum water capacity before it discharged water Sept. 6.

The ensuing flash flood caused six South Korean campers to drown and resulted in big losses for South Korean fishermen.

Presidential spokesman Park Sun-kyoo told a news briefing, “It’s hard to understand why the issue continues to be brought up when the Defense Ministry confirmed that water had not reached the top level. No other ministry has officially confirmed otherwise.”

“Unfortunately, it’s hard to accurately determine the water level from satellite photos, which are the only available source.”

A source at the presidential office said, “Had the water risen to the top, the entire dam must have been filled with water but the satellite photos indicated that certain parts of the dam were empty. So the exact water level is still in question.”

A Defense Ministry official added, “There is no evidence to prove that water reached the top before the discharge. We are still looking into what North Korea could have intended by conducting the discharge.”

“We cannot release the satellite photos of the dam, and it will be difficult to determine the water level with the naked eye only. Since the Hwanggang Dam is a power generation dam, it always contains water and had water before the discharge.”

yongari@donga.com mhpark@donga.com