North Korea ' fully ready' to send troops into demilitarised zone as propaganda leaflets row escalates

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jun 16, 2020, 11:06 AM(IST)

A North Korean flag is seen on top of a tower near the truce village of Panmunjom in the DMZ. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

"Our army will rapidly and thoroughly implement any decisions and orders of the Party and government," the KPA said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

North Korea has warned that it is “fully ready” to send troops into the demilitarised zone [DMZ] separating it from South Korea if defector groups push ahead with their campaign to send anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets into North Korea, state media said on Tuesday.

The General Staff of the Korean People's Army (KPA) said it has been studying an "action plan" to reenter zones that had been demilitarised under a 2018 inter-Korean pact and "turn the front line into a fortress."

"Our army will rapidly and thoroughly implement any decisions and orders of the Party and government," the KPA said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

Also read: South Korea's Moon urges North to keep peace deals, return to talks

Tension between the two Korean neighbours have risen as Pyongyang threatened to sever inter-Korean ties and take retaliatory measures over the leaflets, which carry messages critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un including human rights abuses.

Seoul's defence ministry called for Pyongyang to abide by the 2018 agreement, in which both sides' militaries vowed to cease "all hostile acts" and dismantled a number of structures along the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone between the two countries.

Also read: orth Korea again warns of retaliatory actions over defectors in South

"We're taking the situation seriously," ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo told a briefing. "Our military is maintaining readiness posture to be able to respond to any situation."

Several defector-led groups have regularly sent back flyers, together with food, $1 bills, mini radios and USB sticks containing South Korean dramas and news, usually by balloon over the border or in bottles by river.

South Korea plans legal action against two of the defector groups, saying their actions fuel cross-border tensions, pose risks to residents living near the border and cause environmental damage.

But the groups say they intend to push ahead with their planned campaign this week.

(With inputs from Reuters) 

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