Go to contents

Military leadership is responsible for landmine blast in DMZ

Military leadership is responsible for landmine blast in DMZ

Posted August. 11, 2015 07:18,   


Two South Korean sergeants have been injured in explosion of landmines laid by the North Korean army during a search mission in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Aug. 4. The explosion reportedly severed legs and ankles of the soldiers, resulting in serious injury. North Korean army is suspected to come down by 440 meters from the Military Demarcation Line and secretly install three landmines around a gate of the barbed wire fence, which is used by South Korean soldiers during a search operation. Crossing the Military Demarcation Line to install anti-personnel landmines without permission of the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) is a clear violation of the truce agreement. South Korean military warned the North will pay "harsh price" and started propaganda broadcasts at the North in the area where the incident occurred.

Even though North Korea has shown signs of landmine installation in DMZ from the end of last year, South Korean military has failed to prepare thoroughly and got a blast. North Korea has attacked the holes of South Korean military defense, starting from torpedoing of the South Korean Navy frigate Cheonan in March 2013, shelling the western sea border island Yeonpyeong in November 2013 and flying of drones in 2014. North Korea has launched attacks in sea, on land, in sky and even in the underground. South Korean military, however, never has punished North Korea for provocation and attacks. South Korean military’s weapons and military equipment are not inferior to those of North Korea. However, South Korean military was off guard in not a few cases. A case in point would be a North Korean defector waiting at the door of the military base in 2012 and another North Korean soldier crossing the border to defect in June 2015. It was fortunate that these cases were defection.

So far, South Korean military has been criticized for abuses among soldiers in military barracks, sexual violence, and corruption in the defense industry. The military without disciplines and combat readiness cannot protect lives and properties of the public in emergency. Defense Minister Han Min-goo and the National Security Office`s Chief Kim Kwan-jin must be held accountable for the landmine blast as the leadership to control the South Korean military. President Park Geun-hye has defended and taken side with the failed leadership, which played a part in the failure to prepare thoroughly against North Korea’s provocation.

On Aug. 5, the next day of the landmine blast, President Park attended a groundbreaking ceremony to restore Gyeongwon Line railroad and said, “DMZ will become a dream-making zone not only for people of the both Koreans but also for people around the world.” Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo attempted to send a letter that suggests both Koreas have high-level talks before Sept. 15 to discuss reunion of separated families and the resumption of the Geumkang mountain tourism. This letter was supposed to be sent to Kim Yang Gon, secretary of North Korea`s ruling Workers Party, but North Korea refused to receive the letter. It is pathetic to imagine how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would think the South Korean government that talks about reconciliation and collaboration without knowing what happened, even after serious provocations by North Korea. The only hope that we could find was in the dignified attitude, comradeship and a sense of duty of soldiers who continued the search operation in the site where the landmines blasted on the same day.

The South Korean government must firmly address the North’s provocation. The defense minister must take action based on what he said, “South Korean military has completed preparation and practice to destroy the source of provocation, support units and the military leadership of North Korea.” North Korea would pay close attention to how President Park addresses this provocation, the first since she took office.