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Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 14:50 GMT
N Korea demands 'massacre' probe
Refugees
Refugees flee Yongdong, scene of alleged US atrocities
North Korea has said the United Nations should investigate allegations that American troops massacred more than a million civilians and prisoners of war during the Korean conflict half a century ago.

In a memorandum carried by the official KCNA news agency, the communist state's Foreign Ministry called for "a special tribunal" to be set up to bring those responsible to justice.



The US aggressors herded innocent civilians into the air-raid shelter and set fire to it after pouring petrol over them

North Korean Foreign Ministry
It said that North Korea expected the world to co-operate "to thoroughly probe the truth" under international law, and demanded compensation and an apology from the United States.

"It is a commitment of the US as a criminal state to strictly punish those criminals who organised and commanded the mass killings or took part in them," said the memorandum.

It accused the US of using biological and chemical weapons along with indiscriminate air raids during the 1950-53 war.

The document cited as evidence an alleged massacre in Sinchon county, 100km (62 miles) south of Pyongyang.

"The US aggressors herded innocent civilians into the air-raid shelter and set fire to it after pouring petrol over them," it said.

War anniversary

Correspondents say North Korea has maintained for years that American soldiers carried out atrocities during the Korean War.


Cohen points towards North Korea at a US base near the demilitarised zone
US Defence Secretary William Cohen pledged support for the South last week
But they add that it has stepped up its attacks on Washington in recent months ahead of the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities in June.

In the conflict, America led UN forces that fought with South Korea against North Korean invaders, who were backed by China and the former Soviet Union.

The US and its Southern ally are still technically at war with the North, although they maintain a fragile armistice.

Washington has some 37,000 military personnel stationed in South Korea and last week pledged continued military support.

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