North Korea Denies Involvement in Mine Blasts Near Border
FILE - A North Korean flag is seen on top of a tower near the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating North Korea from South Korea, about 55 km north of Seoul.
VOA News,August 15, 2015
North Korea is denying it is behind last week's landmine blasts that injured two South Korean soldiers and further heightened military tensions with Seoul.
In a statement Friday, the North's National Defense Commission said it is "absurd" to suggest Pyongyang sent soldiers across the border to plant the mines.
The statement said North Korean landmines are for defensive purposes, adding if the North wanted to attack the South "we would have used strong firearms."
A joint U.S.-South Korean investigation accused the North Korean military of illegally crossing to the southern side of the demilitarized zone, or DMZ, and planting the mines.
One soldier lost both legs and another soldier lost one leg in the August 4th incident, which Seoul called a "total violation" of the countries' armistice agreement.
In response, South Korea this week resumed cross-border propaganda broadcasts via massive loudspeakers for the first time in over a decade.
Relations between the two Koreas were already tense because of joint military drills between Seoul and Washington that are set to begin soon.
Pyongyang is also upset over the establishment of a U.N. office in Seoul to investigate widespread human rights violations in the North.
The two countries remain in a technical state of war since their 1950s conflict was ended by a truce and not a peace treaty.