Seoul Vows to Retaliate Against N. Korea for Planting Deadly Landmines

韩誓言报复朝鲜埋地雷的行为
FILE - North Korean soldiers guard the truce village of Panmunjom at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates the two Koreas.

VOA News Brian Padden,August 11, 2015

Seoul Monday accused the North Korean military of illegally crossing into the South Korean side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and intentionally planting landmines that injured two soldiers on August 4th. The U.S.-led U.N. Command that monitors the cease-fire between the Koreas also participated in the investigation of the incident and support’s Seoul’s finding.

Major General Ku Hong-mo with the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff condemned the North for what he called a cowardly and despicable act.

“This provocation is a total violation of the Armistice Agreement and non-aggression agreement between South Korea and North Korea,” said Major General Ku.

Last Tuesday explosions from three landmines occurred on the southern side of the DMZ where eight South Korean soldiers were patrolling. One soldier lost both legs in the blasts, while a second lost one leg.

Established at the end of the Korean War in 1953, the DMZ is a four kilometer-wide buffer running the length of the border between the North and South. More than a million mines are believed to be planted along the DMZ, which is considered one of the most heavily militarized borders in the world.  

Investigators pointed to the type and design of wooden cases found at the site of the blasts and the explosives used as evidence to support their claim that the landmines were North Korean made. The location of the explosions was in an area that is routinely patrolled by South Korean troops, indicating that that the landmines were recently planted.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement urging the North to apologize for the attack and vowing retribution.

“As our military has warned many times, we will make North Korea pay an abysmal cost for their provocation,” said Major General Ku Hong-mo.

Yang Wook, a North Korea analyst with the Korea Defense and Security Forum in Seoul says Pyongyang likely acted to intimidate the South and does not believe there will be any significant retaliation.   

“So from North Korea’s point of view, they have nothing to lose even if they fail.” Yang Wook said.

Seoul cut most economic aid to the North and imposed sanctions in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel that killed 46 sailors. Seoul blamed Pyongyang for the attack but North Korea has denied any involvement.

This incident will likely draw an angry denial from Pyongyang and increase tensions in the region.  Earlier this year Pyongyang objected to the establishment of a U.N. office in Seoul to investigate widespread human rights violations in the North.

North Korea also objects to joint military drills between Seoul and Washington that will begin soon. Last week North Korea offered to suspend its nuclear program if the U.S. canceled the joint drills. Washington has said it will not make a concession to Pyongyang for doing what it is already obligated to do through past nuclear agreements and United Nations restrictions in place.   

North Korea analyst Yang Wook expects Seoul to retaliate with more military exercises or increasing the flow in anti-regime information and rhetoric into the North.

“We can pressure North Korea by conducting massive scale military drills or punish them by resuming psychological combat which North Korea fears the most,” said Yang Wook.

Despite some informal discussions, the two sides have also been unable to agree to hold a joint commemoration this week for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Korean peninsula from Japanese rule. 

VOA Seoul Producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report.

韩誓言报复朝鲜埋地雷的行为

美国之音帕登,2015年8月11日

首尔周一指责朝鲜军队8月4日非法进入非军事区韩国一侧,故意埋设地雷,致两名士兵受伤。监控朝韩停火情况的美国主导的联合国军也参加了对这次事件的调查并支持首尔的说法。

韩国参谋长联席会议的古宏莫少将谴责朝鲜的行为是懦弱和卑鄙的,他说:“这次挑衅绝对是违反了朝韩停战协定和互不侵犯协议。”

上周二,非军事区南侧有三枚地雷爆炸,当时八名韩国士兵正在巡逻。一名士兵在爆炸中失去了双腿,另一名失去一条腿。

非军事区建立于1953年朝鲜战争结束之际,是沿朝韩边境线的一条4千米宽的缓冲带。据信那里埋设着100多万颗地雷,被认为是世界上设防最严密的边境线之一。
 
调查人员指出,在爆炸地点发现的木箱的型号和设计以及地雷所使用的炸药都能证明他们关于地雷是朝鲜制造的说法。爆炸的位置在韩国军队的日常巡逻区,表明地雷是最近埋下的。
 
韩国参谋长联席会议发表声明,敦促朝鲜对袭击道歉并誓言要进行报复。古宏莫少将说:“韩国军方已经警告过多次,我们会让朝鲜为挑衅行动付出沉重代价。”

杨昱是位于首尔的韩国国防安全论坛的朝鲜问题分析员。他说,平壤很可能是要恐吓韩国,他们不认为韩国会采取重大报复行动。杨昱说:“在朝鲜看来,即便失败了也不会损失什么。”
 
2010年发生韩国海军军舰沉没、导致46名韩国士兵死亡事件的之后,首尔切断了对朝鲜的经济援助并采取了制裁措施。首尔指责平壤要对那起袭击负责,但是朝鲜否认介入。
 
这次地雷伤人事件很可能会遭朝鲜愤怒否认,并使该地区的紧张局势升级。今年初,平壤反对联合国在首尔开设办公室,调查朝鲜普遍存在的侵犯人权现象。
 
朝鲜也反对韩国和美国将在近期举行的联合军演。上周,朝鲜表示如果美国取消联合军演,朝鲜就暂停核项目。美国已经表明,不会在已经根据过去的核协议和联合国已有的限制措施所采取的行动方面向朝鲜妥协。

朝鲜问题分析员杨昱预期韩国会通过更多的军演、或加强输送反朝鲜政府的信息和宣传来报复朝鲜。他说:“我们可以通过举办大规模军演、或者恢复朝鲜最害怕的心理战来向朝鲜施加压力。”

尽管有一些非正式的沟通,但朝韩一直未能就在本周共同举行活动纪念朝鲜半岛光复70周年达成共识。