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South Korean soldiers fire warning shots after North Korean troops intrude for 2nd time this month

The South also fired warning shots on June 11 after another group of North Korean soldiers briefly crossed the MDL.

South Korean soldiers fire warning shots after North Korean troops intrude for 2nd time this month
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A visitor looks at the map of North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea (Photo: AP)

SEOUL: South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border on Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said around 20 to 30 North Korean soldiers, while engaging in unspecified construction work on the northern side of the border, briefly crossed the military demarcation line that bisects the countries as of 8:30 a.m. It said the North Korean soldiers retreated after the South broadcasts warnings and fired warning shots and the South's military didn't spot any suspicious activities after that.

The South also fired warning shots on June 11 after another group of North Korean soldiers briefly crossed the MDL. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said that Tuesday's incident occurred in a different area along the central frontline region. It said it doesn't believe the North Korean soldiers intruded the border intentionally and that the North did not return fire.

The South's military said North Korean has been increasing construction activity in frontline border areas, such as installing suspected anti-tank barriers, reinforcing roads and planting land mines.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff also said it recently observed several explosions suspected to have been caused by mines in areas where North Korean soldiers were deployed for construction work, but that the activities continued despite an unspecified number of injuries or deaths.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said it anticipates North Korea will expand its border construction activities, which it said could be aimed at making it harder for North Korean civilians or soldiers to escape to the South as Pyongyang's leadership attempts to strengthen its control over its people.

The border intrusions come as tensions rise between the war-divided rivals, who in recent weeks have engaged in Cold War-style psychological warfare and made it clear they are no longer bound by their landmark military agreement in 2018 to reduce tensions.

The Koreas' heavily fortified border, referred to as the Demilitarised Zone, has occasionally been a site of bloodshed and violent confrontations between the rivals. An estimated 2 million mines are peppered inside and near 248-kilometer (155-mile)-long border, which is also guarded by barbed wire fences, tank traps and combat troops on both sides. It's a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

AP
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