North warns of harm if DMZ misusedNorth Korea warned yesterday of “unpredictable” and possibly fatal consequences unless South Korea and the United States stop allowing tourists inside the Demilitarized Zone, one of the most visited spots on the peninsula. The warming came as tensions rose on the peninsula after a South Korean navy ship sank on Friday. Early reports that the North may have been involved spooked markets but they calmed later when Seoul said it was almost certain Pyongyang had no part in the incident.
North Korea has made no mention of the incident in its official media.
An unnamed army spokesman of the North’s Korean People’s Army said South Korea was engaged in “deliberate acts to turn the DMZ into [a] theatre of confrontation with the [North] and a site of psychological warfare” by allowing tours inside the border zone.
The Demilitarized Zone is the 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) wide buffer that runs along the military border drawn up under a truce that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.
Tens of thousands of tourists a year visit the Panmunjom truce village inside the zone, the Cold War’s last frontier. The North warned that if the U.S. and South Korea continue to “misuse the DMZ” it would cause “unpredictable incidents including the loss of human lives.”