Report: North Korea lays mines along DMZ as South plays up defections

North Korean soldiers have been laying fresh landmines in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating their country from South Korea in recent weeks, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap Tuesday, citing government sources.

The activity was noted by observers at the DMZ village of Panmunjom. The northern soldiers could be seen laying the mines on their side of the still-contested border.

One official quoted by Yonhap said North Korea might be laying the mines to keep its own soldiers from attempting to defect to the South.

South Korea has an array of loudspeakers on its side of the border blaring propaganda into the North. Recent broadcasts have included mentions of Thae Yong Ho, the former second-highest-ranking diplomat at North Korea's London embassy, who defected to South Korea earlier this month.

On Monday, North Korea threatened to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike as it protested annual US and South Korean military exercises in the region. The military training usually generates a belligerent response from Pyongyang.

On Tuesday, North Korea called on the UN Security Council in New York to hold a meeting to discuss "the aggressive joint military exercise," Ja Song Nam, North Korean ambassador to the UN, said in a letter to the council.

He called the joint exercise "a grave military provocation aimed to launch a preemptive nuclear attack" against North Korea.

Last update: Wed, 24/08/2016 - 00:52

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