While the world awaits more of North Korea’s attempt at attention-grabbing “explosive displays” following the dramatic televised explosion of the inter-Korean liaison office Tuesday, there’s been a reported build-up of NK troops along the the demilitarized zone (DMZ), according to new reports. Ships have also been observed entering areas along the disputed maritime border.
Pyongyang’s recent threats to mobilize extra forces have been made good on, apparently: “North Korea’s military appeared to be moving to the front lines near the South as a U.S. reconnaissance plane flew over the peninsula, following days of threats and provocations from Pyongyang,” UPI reports.
South Korean media and military sources report that “North Korean troops were stationed on the North’s side of the Korean demilitarized zones, at vacated guard posts of the tense border.”
Pyongyang’s latest saber-rattling is ostensibly related to an ongoing campaign of defectors spreading propaganda leaflets into the north via the border. Apparently in some cases activists are using balloons to transport messages into the north encouraging people to defect.
“On Wednesday North Korea had said it would retake vacated guard posts and take military action if North Korean defectors in the South continued to send anti-Pyongyang leaflets by helium balloon,” the UPI report adds.
Thus it appears Pyongyang’s troop movements, including what it says are elite units, are an attempt to make good on the prior threats.
North Korea releases pics of the destruction of the inter-Korean liason office.
via Yonhap News. pic.twitter.com/Ge9dzFaqZe
— Raphael Rashid (@koryodynasty) June 16, 2020
It also comes amid disappointment at stalled – and what now appears to be completely failed – nuclear talks with Washington, which Seoul had previously touted as something it would help achieve.
South Korean diplomats have reportedly reached out to restore communications with the north but have been rebuffed. It’s widely believed that Kim John Un and his increasingly visible sister Kim Yo-jong, who has lately emerged as an outspoken military ‘enforcer’ of sorts, are seeking new leverage with the Trump administration, at a time sanctions are still in place with little openings forward.