North’s border forces mimic South’s uniformSome North Korean special forces stationed at the border with South Korea have dressed up in uniforms with the same camouflage pattern as South Korean uniforms, a South Korean military source said yesterday.
The North’s tactic, confirmed by the South’s military for the first time, is believed to be intended to confuse South Korean troops, as the special forces have held drills to practice their ability to infiltrate the South, the source said on condition of anonymity.
“It was confirmed, for the first time this year, that North Korean troops at the front-line land border are wearing uniforms with the same woodland camouflage pattern [as South Korean troops],” the source said. “Our judgment is that the North’s special forces stationed there are staging drills for intrusion while wearing the uniforms.”
South Korea’s military has been developing since 2008 a new combat uniform with digital camouflage, which uses micro-patterns instead of macro-patterns. It has already been supplied to the South’s special warfare forces and will be distributed to other troops starting next July.
The South’s military is now considering distributing the new uniform earlier than scheduled because of the North’s move, the source said. The North is believed to have some 200,000 special forces, an 11 percent increase from two years earlier, according to data from the Ministry of National Defense. Of them, the North is believed to have completed deployment of some 50,000 troops along the border with the South.
The North’s bolstering of its special warfare capabilities means that the country may want to send such troops deep into South Korea to conduct a variety of attacks in case of conflict, Defense Ministry officials said.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have remained acute following a series of military provocations by the North, including the torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in March and the Nov. 23 shelling of a South Korean border island.
The bombardment on Yeonpyeong Island near the Yellow Sea border killed two South Korean marines and two civilians.
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