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North Korea accuses American troops of trespassing into DMZ

North Korea has once again accused U.S. troops of trespassing into the Demilitarized Zone, saying that South Korea would take the responsibility for all the results from the “provocations” including “human damage.”

The communist state’s military has sent a notice containing such a threat to the South, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Sunday.

In the notice, the North claimed that some 100 U.S. troops made 50 trespasses from March 1-8 without any prior notification about their entry into the area.

The group of U.S. soldiers recently came within 20 meters of the Military Demarcation Line, taking photos with women and throwing bottles of alcohol toward North Korean outposts, the KCNA said, citing the content in the notice.

“Under the connivance of the South, the number of provocations near the MDL by U.S. invading soldiers has spiked,” the notice said, according to the KCNA.

“We notify in advance that we will not tolerate the grave military provocations by the U.S. invading troops that coincided with the Key Resolve/ Foal Eagle exercises, and the South condoning and encouraging it.”

The U.S.-led U.N. Command’s Military Armistice Commission has been monitoring situations along the heavily-fortified inter-Korean border in accord with the Armistice Agreement that was signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The U.S. currently has some 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea mainly as a deterrent against North Korea.

A senior military official at the Ministry of National Defense said that it was not the first time that the North made such a “unilateral claim” threatening its southern neighbor.

“Under an inter-Korean agreement, the two Koreas are to notify each other of their entry into the areas near the MDL. The North appears to force the U.S. forces to follow the inter-Korean rule,” said the official on condition of anonymity.

“We understand the U.S. troops were on a regular, ordinary patrol mission in the Demilitarized Zone. Whether U.S. soldiers were with women, drinking alcohol there, is a matter that the UNC can verify.”

The renewed threat from the belligerent state came as inter-Korean tensions run high in the wake of the two deadly attacks by North Korea last year that killed 50 South Koreans, including two civilians.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)
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