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North Koreans cross border – South Korea reacts with warning shots

North Koreans cross border – South Korea reacts with warning shots
North Koreans cross border – South Korea reacts with warning shots

Provocation by the North Koreans? Once again, nerves are at their limit on the inter-Korean border. This time, shots are even being fired.

Increasing tensions on the border between the two Korean states: South Korea’s military has reportedly responded to another crossing by North Korean soldiers with warning shots. “Several North Korean soldiers working on the central front line within the demilitarized zone have crossed the military demarcation line,” the South Korean General Staff announced on Friday.

According to South Korean sources, the border crossing by soldiers from the North is the third in just a few weeks and occurred on Thursday morning (local time). “After warnings and warning shots, the North Korean soldiers retreated to the north,” they said. Similar incidents occurred on Tuesday and at the beginning of June. The South Korean military said that these were apparently unintentional.

Divided nation still at war

North and South Korea have been formally at war since the end of the Korean War. The two countries are separated by a demilitarized zone about four kilometers wide. The demarcation line runs down the middle of this mine-strewn strip.

During a period of rapprochement and detente in 2018, both countries had removed landmines along a section of the border. This year, however, according to the South Korean military, Pyongyang began laying mines again, setting up tank traps and reinforcing tactical roads. The South Korean General Staff considers this a measure by Pyongyang to strengthen “internal control” and prevent North Koreans from defecting to the South.

Border area North Korea South Korea

Garbage balloons from North Korea – pop counter from the South

In recent weeks, North Korea has also sent more than a thousand balloons filled with garbage across the border into the South. According to information from Pyongyang, this was a reaction to actions by South Korean activists who had launched balloons with leaflets directed against North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Un and money for the population towards the North. On Friday, a South Korean activist said he had sent another 20 balloons with leaflets and USB sticks with K-pop and TV series across the border.

The already strained relations between the two countries are currently at a low point. North Korean leader Kim has already conducted several missile tests this year and has also announced that he will expand the development of weapons – including tactical nuclear weapons. In response, South Korea and the USA have increased their defense cooperation.

After Putin’s visit to Kim: South Korea summons Russian ambassador

The visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Kim this week has further increased tensions. At the meeting, both countries signed a military assistance pact. Putin said he would not rule out arms deliveries to North Korea – which would be a violation of UN sanctions against Pyongyang. The USA described the Kremlin chief’s comments as “extremely worrying”. Such action would destabilize the Korean peninsula, the Foreign Ministry said.

In light of the agreement between Moscow and Pyongyang, South Korea summoned Russian Ambassador Georgi Zinoviev on Friday. South Korea “strongly calls on Russia to immediately stop military cooperation with North Korea and to comply with the UN Security Council resolution,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

North Korea has been subject to UN sanctions since 2006 because of its banned nuclear program, which Russia initially supported. During his visit to Pyongyang, however, Putin spoke out in favor of reviewing these sanctions.

Especially since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, relations with North Korea, which have existed since the Second World War, have deepened once again. During the Kremlin chief’s visit, ruler Kim assured him of his “full support” in the conflict with Ukraine.

In contrast, South Korea announced on Thursday that it would “reconsider” its long-standing policy of banning arms sales to conflict zones and supplying weapons to Ukraine. Putin warned Seoul against such a step, saying it would be a “big mistake.”

Source: Stern

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