North Korea Tightens Security, Replaces Border Soldiers After Escape

Franklin Powers | Reporter

After a North Korean soldier dodged a hail of gunfire and lost around half of his blood in order to defect to South Korea last week, North Korea has stepped up its security measures at the DMZ.

On Friday, South Korean lawmaker Kim Young-woo, chairman of the National Assembly’s defense committee, claimed that North Korea has replaced nearly all of its soldiers along the border, according to CNN. (RELATED: Shocking Video Shows North Korean Soldier’s Mad Dash Into The South Under Fire)

However, neither South Korean nor U.S. forces were willing to confirm or deny the claim.

Marc Knapper, chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Seoul, tweeted a photo Thursday of North Korean troops working on a trench. In another tweet, he stated that North Koreans “have planted two trees and are digging a trench at the spot where their soldier crossed the [Military Demarcation Line].”

On Wednesday, the United Nations accused North Korea of violating the terms of the 1953 Armistice Agreement by firing across the Military Demarcation Line at the defecting North Korean soldier. According to the UN, one of the North Korean troops pursuing the defector also violated the agreement by crossing the demarcation line, the BBC reports.

By adding trees and a trench on their edge of the MDR, North Korean troops will more clearly be able to discern how far they are able to travel across the Joint Security Area without violating the terms of the Armistice Agreement.

Earlier this week, the Trump administration and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson designated North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism.

Meanwhile, the defector, Oh Chungsung, is recovering in the hospital, enjoying South Korean music and American television. He is being treated for Hepatitis B, tuberculosis, and intestinal parasites, which medical professionals believe is the result of malnutrition and sanitation problems plaguing North Korea. (RELATED: Defector Reveals How Orphaned North Koreans Survived The Great Famine)

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