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NKorea warns it may release dam water to South

NKorea warns it may release dam water to South

North Korea warned it may have to release dam water into a river flowing to South Korea because of heavy rains, Seoul's government said Sunday. A similar, unannounced incident last year killed six people, straining ties between the testy neighbors.
The South's Unification Ministry said it was making necessary preparations.
The government sped up construction of a large, anti-flooding dam _ which has been in operation since June 30 _ in response to the construction of the North Korean dam, blamed for last year's deadly surge.
"There won't be any problem," said Moon Kwang-hyuk, a Land Ministry official. "We can just store the released water in our dam."
When the North Korean dam discharged an estimated 40 million tons of water into the Imjin River last September, killing six people, some South Korean media speculated Pyongyang possibly meant it as an attack. The North, however, later said it had to release water because levels at its own dam were dangerously high.
It promised to warn Seoul of similar surges in the future.
The North told the South through a military hot line that it may have to release dammed water after 8 p.m. (1100 GMT) Sunday if there was no letup in torrential rain that has pounded the peninsula in recent days, the Unification Ministry said.
The North's notice came amid persistent tension in the wake of the March sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang.
An international investigation said in May that a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo that sank the warship Cheonan, killing 46 South Korean sailors. The North flatly denies that it launched an attack and has warned any punishment would trigger war.
The two Koreas are still technically at war because their conflict in the 1950s ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.