North Korea troops at border maintaining 'readiness', Seoul military says

Pyongyang has dispatched special guards in different parts of the country.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  May 6, 2016 at 1:24 PM
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SEOUL, May 6 (UPI) -- While all eyes were on North Korea's Seventh Party Congress Friday, South Korea military has been tracking developments along the demilitarized zone.

North Korean troops are on increased standby, a Seoul defense ministry official told Yonhap Friday.

"There does not seem to be any out of ordinary movement among frontline troops, but they seem to be maintaining a higher state of readiness with the congress kicking off in the capital city," the official said.

North Korea had begun dispatching special guards at its borders Monday, and in Pyongyang ahead of the congress that opened Friday – signaling possible concern of an outside invasion or a domestic disturbance.

Border security has increased since Kim Jong Un fully assumed power in 2012. In 2015 alone, North Korea established 200 additional guard posts along the DMZ, according to South Korea press.

Pyongyang's activities near the border have included inspection of troops, maintenance of facilities and continued broadcasts of propaganda loudspeakers, South Korean newspaper Kukmin Ilbo reported.

There has also been an uptick in North Korean maritime activity along the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea, a disputed border with the South.

An average of 140 North Korean fishing boats have been entering the disputed zone daily, double the number of vessels that appeared around the same crab season in spring 2015, according to South Korea military.

"Both U.S. and South Korean troops are closely watching North Korea military movements," the official said.

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