North Korea blames U.S. for 1976 ax murders

SEOUL, Aug. 17 (UPI) — North Korea charged the United States with fabricating the facts surrounding the North Korean ax murders that took place in the demilitarized zone 40 years ago.

The murders sometimes known as the Panmunjom Ax Incident resulted in the death of two U.S. Army officers on Aug. 18, 1976, when North Korean soldiers attacked the pair with the ax they were using to cut a tree that was blocking the view of United Nations observers.

On Thursday, the anniversary of the incident, the Korean People’s Army Panmunjom Mission spokesman said that North Korea will “never forget the Panmunjom incident, which took place intentionally under U.S. imperialists looking for an excuse to start a war of invasion while permanently occupying the South.”

North Korea stated the U.S. version of the incident was a “cunning stratagem” to find a way out of its responsibility for the event, adding that the incident is a “serious lesson in history.”

“Only death lies for aggressors and provokers,” North Korea said in the statement issued on KCNA.

According to Pyongyang, the incident involved U.S. forces “pushing forward” South Korean “puppet guards” who “screamed in the direction of [North Korean] soldiers” then assumed “combat-ready positions.”

The South Korea and U.S. forces then brought in “heavy weaponry” and installed a “large surveillance tower.” Their “perilous military provocations tell all,” North Korea stated.

North Korea’s other statements have raised concerns in Japan and the United States, including a missive from Pyongyang’s Atomic Energy Institute to Kyodo news agency confirming plutonium production at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

On Wednesday the U.S. State Department said in response it is working to fully implement the U.N. Security Council sanctions, Voice of America reported.

Spokesman Mark Toner said that if the report is true it is a clear violation of the Security Council resolution that prohibits such activities.



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