N.Korea Plants Landmines 'to Stop Soldiers Defecting'

  • By Kim Myong-song

    August 24, 2016 09:34

    North Korean troops have been spotted planting landmines near the truce village of Panmunjom, apparently to prevent soldiers from defecting.

    A government source here said on Tuesday, "North Korean military personnel were spotted last week laying several landmines in the northern part of Panmunjom."

    The 1953 armistice bans both sides from laying landmines in the area and prohibits the guards from carrying heavy weapons.

    "Most of the North Korean soldiers who defected have come from rear areas behind the frontline," a military spokesman here said. "But it seems frontline soldiers have become volatile since the recent resumption of propaganda broadcasts."

    The South Korean loudspeaker broadcasts along the border have alerted frontline soldiers to news like the mass defection of North Korean restaurant workers from China and the defection of Thae Yong-ho, the No. 2 man at the North Korean Embassy in London.

    The North has laid more than 4,000 landmines along its side of the demilitarized zone since April.

    In a statement, UN Command said it is aware of the laying of landmines near the Bridge of No Return near Panmunjom and "strongly" condemned it. "The presence of any device or munition on or near the bridge seriously jeopardizes the safety of people on both sides," it said.

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