N. Korean activities near the border sharply increases from a year ago

November 16, 2014
South and North Korean troops stand guard at the neutral border village of Panmunjom. (Yonhap file photo)

South and North Korean troops stand guard at the neutral border village of Panmunjom. (Yonhap file photo)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — North Korean soldiers have increased their reconnaissance activities near the tensely guarded land border in 2014 from a year ago, prompting more warning broadcasts and shots from South Korea, a government source here said Sunday.

The source said South Korea has broadcast warning messages toward the North on “about 60 occasions” this year, a marked increase from a year ago. South Korea never had to fire warning shots across the border last year but has done so “five to six times” in 2014, according to the source.

Most recently, about 10 North Korean soldiers apparently came a few feet south of the military demarcation line (MDL) last Monday, while taking pictures of signposts set up there. In response, South Korea launched warning shots, but there was no exchange of fire, as the North Koreans moved away from the MDL without firing back.

Last month, the two Koreas exchanged fire after troops from the communist country drew near the MDL. No casualties were reported.

“North Korea has increased its reconnaissance in the demilitarized zone since last month,” the source said. “The South Korean military is analyzing the North’s intention behind it.”

According to a military official, the North has been sending about 10 or so soldiers at a time to check up on signs that mark the MDL, which was established by the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 and stretches for some 250 kilometers. There are 1,292 such signs, with some old wooden ones having been replaced by concrete posts.

On Saturday, North Korea condemned South Korea for firing warning shots at its soldiers, saying Seoul will have to pay for such “provocations.”

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