DPRK forces strengthen striking exercise near border with S.Korea

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Military forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in frontline units recently strengthened striking exercise targeted at South Korean loudspeakers for propaganda broadcasts, Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday citing military officials.

A military official was quoted as saying that DPRK forces frequently opened loops for machine gun in recent days in their guard posts near the military demarcation line (MDL) inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

Opening the embrasures indicated DPRK forces are ready to strike targets on the south side of the DMZ. The targets, the South Korean military believed, were the loudspeakers through which the propaganda broadcasts were aired.

On Aug. 4, two South Korean soldiers were maimed after the explosion of three landmines, which the South side claimed had been planted by DPRK forces underneath the route frequented by South Korean border guards.

To retaliate against the provocation, the South Korean military resumed the propaganda broadcasts near the MDL for the first time in about 11 years.

DPRK forces also strengthened the firing exercises with artillery gun in border areas. The South Korean military believed that those firing drills were also targeted at the loudspeakers.

Tensions escalated on the Korean Peninsula as South Korea and the United States kicked off their joint annual war game, called Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), on Monday. The computer-assisted simulation exercise would last till Aug. 28.

The DPRK had strongly protested against the drill, calling it a rehearsal for the northward invasion. South Korea's military has said that it was defensive in nature.

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