November 27, 2017 09:47
North Korea has tightened security since a soldier fled to the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area through a hail of bullets on Nov. 13.
The North set up a lockable gate at the so-called 72-Hour Bridge over which the defector drove his jeep to reach the border area. And guards have dug a 1 m-deep ditch between the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission's building and a North Korean guard post in the JSA.
The ditch is to the immediate north of the military demarcation line, where the defector abandoned his jeep that had been stuck in a ditch and started running toward the south. "The North seems retracing the escape route to plug up loopholes," a military spokesman here said.
North Korean online mouthpiece Uriminzokkiri has begun airing old video clips of former leader Kim Jong-il and his son Jong-un visiting Panmunjom in the past.
"The clips seem to be aimed at inspiring loyalty," a Unification Ministry official here speculated. "They are indoctrinating guards, who are new arrivals since the defection."
Meanwhile, the South Korean military is informing North Korean border guards about the defection in propaganda broadcasts blasted across the border.
South Korean loudspeakers are blaring out details of how the defector fled to the South Korean side and how he is being treated at hospital. "The news about an elite soldier like a JSA guard having fled in a hail of bullets will have a significant psychological impact on North Korean border guards," the military spokesman added.
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