North Korea replaces its border guards where soldier defected and are seen digging trenches to stop others from escaping the dictatorship

Friday, November 24, 2017
By Paul Martin

North Korean soldiers were seen digging trenches by the border
These had different uniforms to the guards at the section last week
It appears to be in response to 24-year-old soldier’s defection

24 November 2017

North Korea has reportedly replaced guards and fortified the section of its border where a young soldier defected by running across to South Korea last week.

The North Korean defector was shot and wounded by his fellow soldiers as he dashed into the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area (JSA) last week.

Photos from the JSA show five North Korean workers digging a deep trench in the area where the soldier had dashed across the line.

In one of the snaps, workers can be seen using shovels to dig a deep trench on the North Korean side of the line as soldiers stood guard.

The photos were taken by a group of senior diplomats based in Seoul visiting the JSA on Wednesday morning, a member of the diplomatic delegation confirmed to Reuters.

‘The workers were being watched very closely by the KPA guards, not just the two in the photo, but others out of shot behind the building,’ said the diplomat, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

According to an intelligence official cited by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, the North has replaced the 35-40 soldiers it had guarding the JSA at the time of the incident.

‘We’re closely monitoring the North Korean military’s movement in the JSA,’ a South Korean defence ministry official told reporters, without confirming the reduction in border guards. ‘There are limits as to what we can say about things we know.’

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