EDITION : English/Korean


NK Buries Landmines to Avoid Defection by Soldiers

by YuGee / Aug 24, 2016 05:54 AM EDT

A government source said on Tuesday that North Korea was seen laying antipersonnel mines on its side of the inter-Korean border, presumptively to keep its soldiers from crossing the border.

The source said, "Several North Korea military-laid land mines were seen on the northern side of a bridge in Panmunjom last week." the small bridge, which is also known as the Bridge of No Return is placed within the truce village and stretches over the military demarcation line between South Korea and North Korea.

Yonhap News reported that it was the first time the North was seen planting mines in Panmunjom since the armistice agreement between the two countries in July 1953. In August last year, two South Korean soldiers were wounded in mine blasts blamed on North Korea in the eastern part of the inter-Korean border.

The source also mentioned that the North Korean action "appears to be designed to prevent its front-line servicemen from defecting."

A military official also said that it signals possible discord among front-line soldiers. North Korean soldiers who defected in the past were generally stationed in non-frontline fields.

North Korea purportedly choose frontline servicemen for their loyalty to the government due to the fact that they are frequently exposed to the South's military's psychological operations in the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

The DMZ spans four-kilometer-wide military buffer zone that divaricates the two Koreas.

After the landmine attack last year, the military of South Korea re-started its broadcast operations on the border, shooting reports critical of the North Korean government. The military also broadcasts outside news and information to the secluded country as part of its psychological warfare tactics.

The broadcasts also reported news od the recent defection of a high-profile North Korean diplomat in London and a group of 13 North Korean overseas restaurant staff.

One government official also said, "In reaction to the anti-North broadcasting operation, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered its military to come up with measures to secure psychological solidness of frontline units. Kim is very worried about potential ideological unrest among frontline soldiers."

The current landmines are reportedly part of a bigger operation by the North, which has been laying mines specifically on routes that can be used by defectors. According to some sources, over 4,000 landmines have been planted near the armistice village and on the DMZ since April this year. 

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