At the border between the two Koreas, March 25, 2012. SUSAN WALSH / AP
An American crossed ” without authorization “ the border with North Korea during a visit to the demilitarized zone (DMZ), which separates it from its southern neighbor, and was apparently placed under arrest, announced Tuesday July 18 the United Nations ( UN). According to several American officials speaking on condition of anonymity, it is a soldier of the American armed forces.
This man was on a visit to the “common security area”the sector of the DMZ placed under the control of United Nations, explained the post of command of the UN. “We believe that he is currently in detention in the DPRK [République populaire démocratique de Corée] and we are working with our APC counterparts [Armée populaire de Corée] to resolve this incident.said the same source.
Hundreds of tourists go every day, within the framework of organized trips, inside the “common security area”, located inside the DMZ that has separated the two Koreas for nearly seventy years. The Korean War (1950-1953) having ended in an armistice, and not by a peace agreement, the two neighbors are still, technically, in a state of war.
Relations between the two Koreas at an all-time low
North Korea closed its borders at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and has yet to reopen them. The security presence on its side of the border up to the “common security area” was also significantly reduced.
But, under armistice protocols, no South Korean or American personnel can cross the border to pick up the American national.
The incident comes at a time when relations between the two Koreas are at their worst: diplomacy is at a standstill and Kim Jong-un calls for further development of armaments in his country, in particular tactical nuclear weapons.
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South Korea and the United States have increased military cooperation in response to missile tests and held joint maneuvers with latest-generation fighter jets and strategic forces. These annual exercises must be repeated in August.