蘑菇影院

South Korean troops fired warning shots after North Korean soldiers briefly crossed land border

South Korean soldiers fired warning shots after North Korean troops violated the land border earlier this week, South Korea鈥檚 military said Tuesday, amid soaring animosities between the rivals over the North鈥檚 recent trash-carrying balloon launches. (蘑菇影院 video: Yong Jun Chang)

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SEOUL, South Korea (蘑菇影院) 鈥 South Korean soldiers fired warning shots after North Korean troops briefly violated the tense border earlier this week, South Korea鈥檚 military said Tuesday, as the rivals are embroiled in Cold War-style campaigns like balloon launches and propaganda broadcasts.

Bloodshed and violent confrontations have occasionally occurred at the Koreas鈥 heavily fortified border, called the Demilitarized Zone. While Sunday鈥檚 incident happened amid simmering tensions between the two Koreas, observers say it won鈥檛 likely develop into another source of animosity as South Korea believes the North Koreans didn鈥檛 deliberately commit the border intrusion and North Korea also didn鈥檛 return fire.

At 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, some North Korean soldiers who were engaged in unspecified work on the northern side of the border crossed the military demarcation line that bisects the two countries, South Korea鈥檚 Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Those North Korean soldiers carrying construction tools 鈥 some of them armed 鈥 immediately returned to their territory after South Korea鈥檚 military fired warning shots and issued warning broadcasts, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. It said North Korea had not conducted any other suspicious activities.

South Korea鈥檚 military has assessed that the North Korean soldiers didn鈥檛 appear to have intentionally crossed the border because the site is a wooded area and MDL signs there weren鈥檛 clearly visible, Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson Lee Sung Joon told reporters.

Lee gave no further details. But South Korean media reports said that about 20-30 North Korean soldiers had entered South Korean territory about 50 meters (165 feet) after they likely lost their way. The reports said most of the North Korean soldiers were carrying pickaxes and other construction tools.

The 248-kilometer (155-mile) -long, 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) -wide DMZ is the world鈥檚 most heavily armed border. An estimated 2 million mines are peppered inside and near the border, which is also guarded by barbed wire fences, tank traps and combat troops on both sides. It鈥檚 a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

On Sunday, South Korea resumed anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts from its border loudspeakers in response to the North鈥檚 recent launches of balloons carrying manure and rubbish across the border. South Korea said North Korea has installed its own border loudspeakers in response but hasn鈥檛 turned them on yet.

North Korea has said its balloon campaign was in response to South Korean activists鈥 launches of their own balloons to drop propaganda leaflets critical of leader Kim Jong Un鈥檚 authoritarian rule, USB sticks with K-pop songs and South Korean drama shows, and other items in North Korea.

North Korea is extremely sensitive to any outside criticism of its political system as most of its 26 million people have no official access to foreign news. On Sunday night, Kim鈥檚 sister and senior official, Kim Yo Jong, warned of 鈥渁 new response鈥 if South Korea continued its loudspeaker broadcasts and refused to stop civilian leafletting campaigns.

The tit-for-tat over speakers and balloons 鈥 both Cold War-style psychological warfare 鈥 have deepened tensions between the Koreas as talks over the North鈥檚 nuclear ambitions have remained stalled for years.