Tensions mount at Korean peninsula

Tensions mount at Korean peninsula

Military tensions along the heavily-fortified frontline on the Korean peninsula have soared as South Korea vowed to make the communist North pay a “harsh price” after landmines maimed two soldiers.

Seoul’s defence ministry accused the North of planting three landmines that rocked a border patrol unit at the demilitarised zone (DMZ), a 2.5 mile wide buffer strip of land that separates the two Cold War foes and despite its name is heavily militarised.

United Nations forces that monitor the ceasefire at the DMZ also blamed the North for laying the mines, saying that they appeared to be new devices planted along a known South Korean patrol route.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff threatened that its military would make North Korea “pay a harsh price proportionate for the provocation it made”. Seoul’s high command described attack as a “baseless act” and “wanton violation” of non-aggression accords and urged the North to apologise for the attack and punish those responsible.

But it was not immediately clear how Seoul would try to impose the “harsh price” on the regime of Kim Jong-un. The two countries remain technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty.

The incident appears to be first direct attack on South Korean soil since December 2010 when the North shelled the border island of Yeonpyeong, killing two civilians and two soldiers and triggering brief fears of a full scale conflict. Read more

 

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