by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
About 10 North Korean soldiers crossed the military border into South Korea near Cheorwon, Gangwon Province on Saturday morning, but retreated immediately after the South fired warning shots, reported Yonhap News Agency.
According to South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, the South Korean military warned the North Korean soldiers via speakers to not approach any further after they had crossed the Military Demarcation Line (MDL). Although the North Korean soldiers were armed, they retreated after the South fired warning shots and did not return fire.
This is the first time in 2015 that South Korea has fired warning shots at the heavily armed border. Last October, tensions on the border flared when North Korea shot down anti-Pyongyang propaganda balloons launched by South Korean activists. The South responded by firing 40 rounds of machine guns. At the time, there were no reports of damage or injury.
Authorities are still investigating what may have prompted the North Korean soldiers from intrude the border. One source told the Joongang Ilbo that there have been signs of the North Korean army increasing reconnaissance and patrols along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
The brief intrusion came on the same day North Korea officially announced Pak Yong-sik as its new defense minister. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told lawmakers in May that Pak’s predecessor, Hyon Yong-chol, was executed for complaining about Kim Jong-un’s policies and sleeping during a meeting. While North Korea’s state media officially confirmed Hyon’s replacement, it did not verify Hyon’s execution.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons