North Korea builds wall in its border with South in violation of long standing truce: Report

Satellite images analysed by BBC show that the land inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) has been cleared, which could be a violation of the long standing truce with its south counterpart.
 A North Korean military guard post, top, and a South Korean post, bottom, are seen from Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Tuesday, June 18, 2024.
A North Korean military guard post, top, and a South Korean post, bottom, are seen from Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Photo | AP)

North Korea is reportedly building sections of what appears to be a wall in a number of locations near its border with South Korea.

Satellite images analysed by BBC Verify (a fact-checking team) show that the land inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) has been cleared, which could be a violation of the long standing truce with its south counterpart.

The DMZ is a 4km (2.5 miles) wide buffer zone between the two countries which are considered to be still at war with each other, having never ratified a peace treaty. The DMZ is divided into two, with each side controlled by the respective nations. The report further quoted a correspondent at the Seoul based NK News as saying: "At this point we can only speculate that North Korea is looking to strengthen its military presence and fortifications along the border.

The images captured by the high resolution satellite show at least three sections where barriers have been erected near the DMZ, covering around 1km close to the eastern end of the border. It is also possible that there could be further construction done along other stretches of the border, BBC reported.

Due to the lack of previous high resolution imagery in the area, it is not possible to determine the exact date the construction began. However, in an image captured in November 2023, these structures are not visible.

“My personal assessment is that this is the first time they've ever built a barrier in the sense of separating places from each other,” the BBC quoted Dr Uk Yang, a military and defense expert at Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

Recently, North Korea has been setting up walls 2-3m high and the shape of the walls suggest that they are intended to divide an area rather than be an obstacle.

The latest satellite imagery also shows a newly created access road on the eastern end of the boundary.

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