SEOUL – South Korea’s Defense Minister Song Young-moo visited on Monday the exact spot along the border through which a North Korean soldier had crossed over to its territory two weeks ago and warned Pyongyang against violating a bilateral armistice.
Song inspected the so-called Joint Security Area (JSA) through which the soldier – who was shot at several times by the North Korean army – defected to South Korea on Nov. 13, a defense ministry spokesperson, who accompanied Song during the visit, told EFE.
While trying to stop the defection, one of the North Korean soldiers had reportedly stepped across the line of military demarcation that divides the two Koreas, which, along with firing in the direction of the South, constitutes a violation of a ceasefire agreement that had brought an end to the Korean War (1950-1953).
Both actions, as well as the use of AK-47 automatic rifles, constitute a clear violation of this armistice, Song told the media.
Furthermore, photographs shared over the weekend on social media by diplomats who visited the JSA, showed several North Korean gardeners, supervised by a North Korean military escort, planting two trees in an apparent attempt to obstruct access and view of the dividing line.
They were also seen deepening a trench ahead of the spot where the vehicle of the 24-year-old soldier, known only by his surname Oh, had got stuck, forcing him to abandon his vehicle and cross over to the South on foot when several North Korean soldiers fired at him.
Since Oh’s desertion – who is now recovering in a South Korean hospital after having undergone two surgeries – tension has escalated around the JSA and the rest of the militarized border between the two countries, which have been technically at war for almost 70 years.