A photo shows North Korean soldiers building a guard post on the border with South Korea. Photo/The Guardian
SEOU – South Korea’s (South Korea) Ministry of Defense said North Korea (North Korea) has begun rebuilding guard posts and placing heavy weapons along its border with South Korea. It came after the countries withdrew from a confidence-building agreement designed to prevent war.
Media reports quoted the South Korean military as saying they had detected troops from North Korea repairing camouflaged guard posts that had been destroyed by the regime as part of a comprehensive military agreement in 2018 designed to lower the risk of confrontation along the heavily armed demilitarized zone (DMZ). ).
The South Korean military said North Korean troops were seen digging trenches at locations along the border and the regime had sent heavy weapons to the area.
The DMZ has divided the two countries since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean war and is seen as a potential flashpoint in a future inter-Korean conflict.
The neighbors had dismantled or disarmed 11 guard posts as part of a 2018 agreement, but both sides appear ready to abandon the agreement after a recent rise in tensions sparked by the North’s launch of a spy satellite last Tuesday in defiance of UN sanctions.
After the launch, Seoul said it would suspend parts of the agreement and resume air surveillance near the border. In response, Pyongyang said it would deploy powerful weapons near the border and abandon the agreement.
The deal, reached during the rapprochement between then-South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, required both sides to destroy guard posts within 1 km of the border, ban military exercises and maneuvers near land and sea borders, as well as the establishment of no-fly zones.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Monday shared with journalists photos it said showed North Korean soldiers building temporary guard posts and moving what appeared to be recoilless rifles – portable anti-vehicle weapons or light artillery – into newly constructed trenches.
“Our military will closely monitor North Korea’s provocative actions while maintaining full readiness to immediately respond to North Korea’s provocations… based on strengthening our joint posture with the US,” the ministry said, according to Yonhap news agency, as quoted by The Guardian, Tuesday (27 /11/2023).