North Korea expressed regret on Friday over the death of a missing South Korean, saying it shot him as part of measures to battle the coronavirus, the South's national security adviser said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in saying the incident should not have happened, the official told a briefing.
Earlier this week, a South Korean fisheries official went missing while on duty on an inspection boat near the South-North border.
On Thursday, the South Korea Defense Ministry said that he had been shot dead in the North Korean waters and demanded from Pyongyang explanations and punishment of those responsible.
"Our military issued the instruction on Thursday that calls for the strengthening of the readiness posture regarding the current situation ... The focus is on closely monitoring North Korean military moves around the clock and to maintain a firm defense posture to swiftly react to all circumstances so as to prevent the escalation of tensions," deputy spokesperson for the Defense Ministry Col. Moon Hong-sik said.