(ATTN: UPDATES with more info throughout)
By Yi Wonju
SEOUL, June 28 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government on Tuesday attempted to send a formal letter asking North Korea to give notification before releasing water from dams near their border during the summer rainy season, the unification ministry said Tuesday.
Pyongyang, however, did not express its willingness to accept the message during their phone call via an inter-Korean liaison communication line at around 4 p.m. The North had earlier been unresponsive to their regular daily calls at 9 a.m.
"We attempted to send a formal request to North Korea regarding the prevention of flood in the border areas during the rainy season, but the North ended the call without clearly stating whether it was willing to accept the letter," the ministry told reporters.
The message was instead delivered "verbally" via a military hotline at around 4 p.m., according to the ministry.
Earlier, a unification ministry official cited the possibility of technical glitches in the North's communication lines caused by heavy downpours that hit some parts of the nation recently.
The official pointed out such an unstable connection of the bilateral hotline is not unprecedented during the rainy season.
In August 2020, the North partially opened the floodgates of Hwanggang Dam on the western inter-Korean border without prior notice and dumped water into the Imjin River, putting South Korean residents living near the border areas on high alert.
Under an inter-Korean agreement signed in October 2009, the North agreed to notify the South in advance of its plans to release dam water, following a deadly accident that killed six South Koreans after the North discharged water from Hwanggang Dam without notice.