CHILLING pictures have shown Kim Jong Un’s troops massing at the Korean border after scrapping their peace deal with South Korea.
It comes after Pyongyang’s launch of a spy satellite last week stoked tensions on the peninsula and prompted Seoul to partially suspend the agreement.
But Pyongyang has since scrapped the pact entirely, warning it would “never be bound” by the deal again.
As a result, North Korean troops have been pouring into the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) to restore guard posts taken down under the 2018 agreement, Seoul’s military said on Monday.
Yonhap News Agency also reported that North Korean soldiers were “seen rebuilding the guard posts from Friday”, according to a military official.
It was added that all 11 posts withdrawn under the five-year-old deal were expected to be restored.
One photo released by South Korea’s military shows four North Korean soldiers rebuilding a wooden guard post in the DMZ that separates the two countries.
According to military sources in North Korea, troops have been placed under shoot-to-kill orders, as reported by Daily NK.
Ministry officials disclosed photos showing the troops carrying what appeared to be recoilless guns and standing guard at night.
North Korea’s accelerated development of its weapons programmes has already previously alarmed Seoul.
South Korea deployed “surveillance and reconnaissance assets” to the border after the satellite launch, in what its military said was an “essential measure” to defend against North Korea’s growing threats.
In response, Pyongyang said it would “deploy more powerful armed forces and new-type military hardware in the region along the Military Demarcation Line” between the two Korea’s.
Nuclear-armed North Korea is barred by successive rounds of UN resolutions from tests using ballistic technology.
Analysts say there is significant technological overlap between space launch capabilities and the development of ballistic missiles.
Last week’s launch of the “Malligyong-1” was Pyongyang’s third attempt at securing a military eye in the sky after two failures in May and August.
The launch drew condemnation from the international community, including the United States and South Korea, for its “destabilising effect on the region”.
Pyongyang said its launch was a “legitimate and just exercise of the right to self-defence”, according to a foreign ministry statement run by KCNA on Monday.
Successfully putting a spy satellite into orbit would improve North Korea’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly over South Korea, and provide crucial data in any military conflict, experts say.
In a visit to the Pyongyang space control centre on Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed “great satisfaction” at the preparations for the satellite’s reconnaissance mission.
The expedition is expected to begin on December 1, KCNA said in a separate report.
Kim also reviewed a batch of satellite photos of the US Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, as well as the Italian capital Rome.
It is the latest in a series of North Korean reports purporting Kim has reviewed satellite imagery, though Pyongyang has not publicly disclosed it.
Pyongyang previously claimed, within hours of the launch, that Kim was shown photos of US military bases in Guam taken by the satellite.
Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines