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Last updated at 16:15 BST, Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Flooding apology

Summary

14 October

North Korea has expressed regret for causing a large flood that claimed the lives of six South Koreans last month. The two sides have been meeting to discuss the incident.

Reporter:
John Sudworth

South Korean Army soldiers and rescue team members search missing people at the Imjin Rive, South Korea

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Report

More than five weeks after North Korea released millions of tonnes of water from a dam and sent it surging south across the border, South Korea says it has received the apology it was seeking.

The meeting to discuss the incident had been requested by the South Korean government, and according to a spokesman, the officials who travelled to the North Korean city of Kaesong for the talks received an expression of regret from their northern counterparts as well as the offer of condolences to the families of six South Koreans killed in the flooding.

North Korea said soon after the incident that it had no choice but to release a large volume of water from its dam on the Imjin river in order to avoid a bigger catastrophe.

The flood control talks are being held at the same time as reports suggest North Korea may be preparing to launch more short range missiles. It test fired five missiles off its east coast on Monday. Although short range, South Korea has argued that the tests are provocative as they are in breach of UN resolutions banning the testing of all types of ballistic weaponry. If nothing else, the timing of this latest flexing of military muscle is puzzling. In recent talks with Beijing, Pyongyang is reported to have signalled that it might be willing to return to the stalled nuclear disarmament talks.

John Sudworth, BBC News, Seoul

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Vocabulary

received the apology it was seeking

South Korea wanted North Korea to say they were sorry and they did

an expression of regret

a showing of sadness about a mistake they had made and the wish things could have been different

offer of condolences

expression of sympathy

in order to avoid a bigger catastrophe

to prevent a worse disaster or very bad situation from happening

preparing to launch more short range missiles

getting ready to use rockets with an ability to reach targets close to North Korea

provocative

likely to create an angry reaction

are in breach of UN resolutions

are breaking the rules and agreements made by the UN

ballistic weaponry

weapons which fly through air

latest flexing of military muscle

a recent attempt by the army to show how powerful they are

stalled nuclear disarmament talks

discussions aimed at reducing or giving up the use of nuclear weapons which have made no recent progress