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North Korean soldiers briefly cross the border, warning shots from the South

Photo: Im Sun-suk Yonhap via Associated Press In recent weeks, Pyongyang has sent hundreds of balloons weighted with waste such as cigarette butts, toilet paper, and even animal excrement, to its southern neighbor.

France Media Agency in Seoul

Published yesterday at 10:18 p.m. Updated yesterday at 11:23 p.m.

  • Asia

North Korean soldiers briefly crossed the border with South Korea on Sunday, whose soldiers fired warning shots, the South Korean General Staff (JCS) announced on Tuesday.

“North Korean soldiers working inside the DMZ on the central front briefly crossed the military demarcation line,” the JCS said in a statement, referring to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two Enemy states since 1995.

“Apart from the immediate retreat of North Korean soldiers after our warning shots, no unusual movements were observed,” added the JCS.

The North Korean and South Korean sides of the 4 km wide DMZ are heavily fortified but the demarcation line itself, located in the middle of the area, is only marked by simple signs. Clashes between soldiers from the two camps patrolling there break out from time to time.

Sunday's incident came as relations between the north and the south are going through one of the most tense times in 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.

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Garbage balloons

Pyongyang has in recent weeks sent hundreds of balloons weighted to South Korea 'trash such as cigarette butts, toilet paper, and even animal excrement.

The North Korean regime intends 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, American bank notes and USB keys containing k -pop and South Korean series. Seoul cannot legally prevent these shipments.

In early June, the South Korean government completely suspended a 2018 military agreement to reduce tensions and resumed issuing propaganda by loudspeaker along the border, in retaliation for the garbage balloons.

North Korea – which for its part had already thrown out the agreement of 2018 to oblivion last year- warned Seoul of “a new crisis”.

According to the South Korean army, the North is also installing loudspeakers on its side of the border, suggesting intense duels of screaming propaganda.

These sound duels had been frequent since the 1960s, but were suspended in 2018 due to a warming of relations.

The decision to abandoning the 2018 agreement and reconnecting the speakers could have serious consequences, if precedents are to be believed.

Complaining about the shipment of propaganda leaflets against its regime from the South, North Korea had in 2020 cut all official military and political communication links with its neighbor, and demolished with explosives an inter-Korean liaison office located on its side of the border .

The North has also threatened in the past to fire cannons on South Korean loudspeakers if they are not turned off.

The abandonment of the 2018 agreement also means that the South Korean military can resume live ammunition exercises near the border.

This agreement was the fruit of an inter-Korean rapprochement promoted by the South Korean president at the time, Moon Jae-in, who had met Kim Jong-un on several occasions.

In 2020 the South Korean Parliament had passed a law prohibiting sending propaganda leaflets to the North. But the Constitutional Court invalidated the text last year, ruling that it violated freedom of expression.

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