S Korea keeps up hunt for invaders

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The Independent Online
Troops in South Korea exchanged fire with a fugitive North Korean commando yesterday on the third day of a spying saga that appears to have scuppered hopes of peace talks involving the two countries.

Eighteen North Koreans have so far been killed since their submarine ran aground on a beach near the South Korean city of Kangnung on Wednesday. There were no reports of new deaths or arrests yesterday but, the one member of the crew who was captured alive has said that as many as seven others may be at large.

According to a South Korean news agency, the submarine was on a spy mission to a nearby airport and radio antennae. It put ashore five commandos on Sunday, but came to grief late the next evening after picking two of them up. Eleven of the dead men died in an apparent suicide pact to avoid capture and seven others were shot by South Korean forces.

President Kim Young Sam of South Korea said his foreign minister would raise the incident in the United Nations later this month. He will also consult with the US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, who yesterday expressed the wish that "all parties would refrain from taking further provocative actions".

North Korea has made no direct comment on the embarrassing incident, but radio broadcasts monitored in Tokyo yesterday denounced "South Korean puppets" for "provocative action against North Korea near the demilitarised zone".