1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

N. Korean army 'ready' to move against South

June 16, 2020

North Korea's military says it is preparing for action against the South, days after its leader's sister made threats against Seoul. Pyongyang has said it would convert a demilitarized zone "into a fortress."

South Korean guards stand near the UN Command Military Armistice Commission conference buildings, in front of Panmon Hall, a building on the North Korean side of the border.
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Jiji Press/M. Taguchi

North Korea's army is "getting fully ready" to take military action against South Korea if activists continue their campaign of sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea, state media reported Tuesday.

In the latest warning from the North, the General Staff of the Korean People's Army (KPD) said it has been studying an "action plan" to reenter zones that were demilitarized in 2018, threatening to "turn the front line into a fortress."

"Our army will rapidly and thoroughly implement any decisions and orders of the Party and government," the KPA said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

Threats to break peace pact

The scope of the actions the military was considering against the South was not immediately clear. However, the North has threatened to break an inter-Korean military agreement that was signed in 2018 with the aim of reducing tensions at the border.

The pact ushered in the establishment of demilitarized border buffers between the nations. In an act of symbolism, they also dismantled some front-line guard posts.

Read more: Could a major earthquake soon strike South Korea?

The latest statement implies Pyongyang would consider disregarding the buffer zones and rebuilding said posts.

The country's military also said it would open unspecified areas near the borders in order that North Korea could carry out "large-scale leaflet scattering" in South Korea, in apparent retaliation against defectors and activists who have floated anti-North Korea propaganda over the border.

Conflict Zone - Guest: Kang Kyung-wha

Propaganda message in a bottle

Responding to the threat, the South Korean defense ministry called for Pyongyang to honor the 2018 agreement.

"We're taking the situation seriously," defense ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said in a briefing. "Our military is maintaining readiness posture to be able to respond to any situation."

Defector-led groups have taken to regularly sending flyers along with food, money, mini radios, and USB sticks containing South Korean dramas and news into North Korea by way of balloon or bottles thrown into the river. The leaflets criticize North Korea's human rights abuses and nuclear ambitions.

On Saturday, Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, slammed South Korea as "the enemy" and said the North would demolish a "useless" inter-Korean liaison officer.

Experts have said the North could be manufacturing a crisis with South Korea while nuclear negotiations with the US are at a standstill.

kp/aw (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Every evening, DW sends out a selection of the day's news and features. Sign up here.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage