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Dozens of North Korean soldiers cross the border with the South

Photo: Anthony Wallace Agence France-Presse A South Korean at the Paju Observatory, which overlooks the border with North Korea.

France Media Agency in Seoul

Published yesterday at 11:39 p.m.

  • Asia

Several dozen North Korean troops have crossed the border into South Korea, before retreating under warning shots from the South Korean military, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday.

“Dozens of North Korean troops crossed the military demarcation line [and] retreated northward after warning shots” from the South, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The incursion came hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to arrive in North Korea for a rare state visit.

In another incident, several North Korean soldiers were injured by mine explosions while working near the border, the same source said.

< p>According to a General Staff official, these soldiers were carrying out clearing work and laying mines along the border, but “suffered numerous casualties as a result of repeated landmine explosions during of their work.”

Despite this, the North's military “appears to recklessly continue its operations,” the official added.

For several months, North Korea has been working to dismantle the roads and railways that connected it to the South when relations between the two countries were better.

The North’s military is also strengthening fortifications on its side of the border by laying mines, building new anti-tank barriers and clearing large areas of forest, according to the South Korean general staff official.

“North Korea’s activities appear to be a measure to strengthen internal control, including preventing North Korean troops and North Koreans from defecting to the South,” the general staff official said.

This is the second time in less than two weeks that North Korean soldiers have crossed the inter-Korean demarcation line, which separates the two states that are still technically at war.

On June 9, several North Korean troops briefly crossed into South Korean territory, then withdrew after sound warnings and warning shots from the southern soldiers.

The two Koreas are separated by a 4 km wide demilitarized zone (DMZ). The boundary line is in the middle.

The North Korean and South Korean sides of the DMZ are heavily fortified but the boundary line itself, located at middle of this mine-infested area, is only marked by simple signs.

Relations between the north and the south are currently going through one of the most tense periods since years. The two countries remain technically at war, the conflict which opposed them from 1950 to 1953 having ended in an armistice and not a peace treaty.

Pyongyang sent in recent weeks, hundreds of balloons weighted with garbage such as cigarette butts, toilet paper, and even animal excrement have been sent to South Korea.

North Korea intended to respond to the sending towards the north by defector associations, also by balloon, of leaflets hostile to leader Kim Jong-un and his family, dollars in small denominations and USB keys containing K -pop and South Korean series. Seoul cannot legally prevent these shipments.

The North and the South have also each installed loudspeakers near the border in order to resume propaganda broadcasts sound, suspended since 2018.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116