North Korea expressed regret today over its recent release of dam water that sparked flooding downstream blamed for six South Korean deaths, as the two sides discussed how to prevent such incidents on their border, an official said.

The release of dam water into the Imjin River last month without advance notice triggered floods that swept away six South Koreans who were camping and fishing.

South Korea demanded an apology, but North Korea said at the time only that it “urgently” had to release the water because the dam’s level was too high and that it would warn Seoul of similar releases in the future.

At 80-minute talks today suggested by South Korea and convened in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, the North expressed its regret, Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Jong-joo said. The North also said it had to discharge the waters to avoid a bigger catastrophe.

“It was regrettable that unintended human casualties occurred,” the North Korean chief delegate told South Korean officials, Lee said.

The North also offered condolences to the bereaved South Korean families, Lee said. The talks resumed after a lunch break, the ministry said.

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