Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


N Korea says danger of 'catastrophic' clash

27 May 2014, 13:33

Seoul - North Korea on Tuesday warned that recent "provocative" activities by US troops at a truce village on the heavily fortified inter-Korean border could lead to a "catastrophic" military clash.

The warning came from the head of the North Korean forces stationed in the frontier village of Panmunjom - where the ceasefire agreement to end fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War was signed.

Panmunjom has hosted multiple inter-Korean talks over the decades and is heavily guarded, with mostly South Korean and US troops on the southern side under the auspices of the UN Command (UNC).

The North Korean military official, who was not named, said recent activities by US troops threatened to destabilise the sensitive area.

In remarks carried by the North's official KCNA news agency, he particularly cited the construction of a steel watchtower, saying it was being used for "acts of spying" involving sophisticated surveillance equipment.

Given the military sensitivity of Panmunjom, where North and South Korean border guards stand almost eyeball-to-eyeball, the official said such activity was particularly dangerous.

"The slightest accidental mistake or undesirable behaviour could lead to a catastrophic military clash," he said.

‘Sinister’ activity

North Korea regularly denounces the US troop presence in the South, but it is unusual for it to focus on activities in Panmunjom - one of the few avenues of cross-border communication.

A UNC spokesperson dismissed the North's concerns, saying the watchtower had been constructed for "ordinary monitoring purposes".

The North Korean official cited other "sinister" activity by US troops, including messages relayed across the border by loudspeaker and letters with "dishonest contents" that were left in huts straddling the border.

Such actions had multiplied since US President Barack Obama visited South Korea in April, he said.

During that visit, Obama called the impoverished but nuclear-armed North a weak "pariah state" that was intent on taking "a path that leads only to more isolation".

Military tensions between the two Koreas have been elevated for several months.

Last week, Seoul said a North Korean warship fired shells near one of its naval corvettes and denounced Pyongyang's denial as a "blatant lie".

Panmunjom has generally been sheltered from the volatile swings in inter-Korean relations, although it has witnessed a number of deadly incidents.

There were fears of a full-scale conflict in 1976, after a group of axe-wielding North Korean troops killed two American soldiers who were trimming a tree on the border.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...