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Incident on the Korean border: North Korean soldiers cross the demilitarized line

  • June 11, 2024
  • 3 Min
  • 8

North Korean soldiers briefly cross the border with the South.

The South Korean General Staff (JCS) reported, this Tuesday, June 11, 2024, a new rise in tension with Pyongyang. North Korean soldiers, working in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the central front, briefly crossed the military demarcation line. After warning messages and warning shots from the South Korean military, they quickly withdrew towards the north, according to the JCS.

The incident appears to be an accidental incursion, attributed to poorly visible boundary line signage and dense vegetation. A JCS spokesman said the North Korean soldiers were moving through the bushes with no apparent intention of invading South Korea, withdrawing immediately after warnings.

This event takes place in a context of extremely tense relations between the two Koreas, still technically at war since the armistice of 1953. Recently, Pyongyang sent balloons filled with rubbish to the South in response to anti-regime leaflets sent by associations of South Korean defectors.

The South Korean government suspended a 2018 military agreement aimed at reducing tensions, in response to North Korean balloon shipments. Seoul has resumed loudspeaker broadcasting of propaganda along the border, prompting Pyongyang to install loudspeakers on its side as well.

The North previously cut off official communications and destroyed an inter-Korean liaison office in 2020 in response to the leafleting. The abandonment of the 2018 agreement also allows the South Korean army to resume live ammunition exercises near the border, increasing the risks of new confrontations.

The developments are a reminder of the risks of crisis, with Pyongyang’s past threats to fire on South Korean loudspeakers still present. The return to intensive sound propaganda marks a significant step back from rapprochement efforts inter-Korean undertaken in 2018 under the presidency of Moon Jae-in.

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