Dozens of North Korean Soldiers Crossed Border into South Korea, Shots Fired

Putin is due to visit North Korea soon, and several North Korean soldiers were injured in mine explosions while working near the border, the South Korean military said

by Sededin Dedovic
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Dozens of North Korean Soldiers Crossed Border into South Korea, Shots Fired
© Handout / Getty Images

Several dozen North Korean soldiers crossed the border into South Korea but then retreated after being warned, military officials in Seoul reported. "Dozens of North Korean soldiers crossed the military demarcation line and retreated to the north after warning shots were fired from the south," according to official sources, reports Assossiated Press.

The incursion by North Korean soldiers occurred a few hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to arrive on a state visit to North Korea. In a separate incident, several North Korean soldiers were injured in mine explosions while working near the border, according to the South Korean military.

Putin is strengthening ties with North Korea

President Vladimir Putin will pay a state visit to North Korea today and tomorrow, the press service of the Kremlin announced, pro-Putin RIA Novosti reports. "At the invitation of the Chairman of State Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim Jong-Un, Vladimir Putin will pay a friendly state visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from June 18 to 19," the announcement states.

The last time Putin visited North Korea was in 2000. Then, in Pyongyang, he met with the then current head of the republic, Kim Jong Il. Last fall, the current leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, visited Russia. The visit lasted from September 12 to 17.

During these days, he visited the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Komsomolsk on the Amur, Knevichi Airport in Primorye and Vladivostok. Before that, Kim Jong Un came to Vladivostok in April 2019. This was the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 25, 2019© Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

North Korea and Russia will sign important documents on the occasion of Vladimir Putin's visit to North Korea, the Kremlin announced today, citing the possibility of signing a "strategic partnership" agreement.

The Russian president will arrive in Pyongyang in a few hours, but the entire official program is scheduled for the following day, according to his diplomatic representative Yuri Ushakov. "Your documents, very important, will be signed," he said, adding that it is even possible that an "agreement on global strategic partnership" will be signed.

"If that agreement is signed, it will of course be conditioned by the development of the geopolitical situation in the world and the region and the qualitative changes that have recently occurred in our bilateral relations," he told the Russian media.

He said that the two sides are working on it and that the final decision on the signing will be made in the next few hours. He also said that Putin and the North Korean leader will address the press. Putin will be accompanied by his Minister of Defense Andrey Belousov, as well as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The Russian delegation will include two deputy prime ministers and the head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos. The two countries, which are under extensive international sanctions, have become increasingly connected since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Putin is going to North Korea nine months after he hosted the North Korean leader in the Russian Far East. At that time, they praised each other, but at least they did not officially conclude any agreements. Pyongyang is using its large stockpiles of ammunition to supply Russia and the Pentagon last week accused Moscow of using North Korean ballistic missiles in Ukraine.

In return, according to Washington and Seoul, Russia is giving North Korea its expertise on the satellite program and has sent aid to the country to overcome food shortages. After Pyongyang, Putin will go to Vietnam.

Russia responded to yesterday's statements of the Secretary General of NATO

Kremlin spokesman Dimitriy Peskov today assessed the statement of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about the possibility of putting the Alliance's nuclear weapons on alert as another escalation of tensions.

"It is nothing more than another escalation of tensions," Peskov told reporters, as reported by RIA Novosti. Stoltenberg previously stated that NATO is considering putting nuclear weapons on alert, stating that transparency in that case is a deterrent.

The US said on June 17 that it is "concerned" about the "deepening of relations" between Russia and North Korea at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing to visit his North Korean counterpart to sign, as they say in Russia, important documents.

"What worries us is the deepening of relations between the two countries, not only because of the impact it will have on the Ukrainian people, because we know that North Korean ballistic missiles are constantly being used to strike Ukrainian targets, but also because there could be a certain reciprocity that could affect security on the Korean Peninsula," said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

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