North Korea Replaces Border Soldiers After Defection

US diplomat Marc Knapper tweeted a photo showing North Korean soldiers appearing to supervise the tree planting and trench digging. “Was at JSA today, the North Koreans have planted two trees and are digging a trench at the spot where their soldier crossed the MDL,” one tweet said.

North Korea has replaced nearly all the soldiers along the border where one of their former comrades defected, a South Korean lawmaker said Friday.

Earlier, both the South Korean military and US forces in Korea told CNN they could not confirm the claim about the replacement by lawmaker Kim Young-woo, chairman of the National Assembly’s defense committee. The status of the soldiers is unclear.

The change comes as the North Korean People’s Army sought to prevent other soldiers from defecting by planting trees and apparently digging a trench at a section of the demilitarized zone, according to the chargé d’affaires at the US Embassy in Seoul.

Marc Knapper, the highest-ranking official at the US Embassy, tweeted a photo this week showing North Korean soldiers supervising what appears to be the planting of two trees and the digging of a trench where the North Korean soldier dashed across the border November 13.

“(T)he North Koreans have planted two trees and are digging a trench at the spot where their soldier crossed the MDL,” Knapper tweeted Wednesday, referring to the Joint Security Area at the heavily fortified demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea.

A photo tweeted by Knapper the next day showed several men, surrounded by North Korean soldiers, appearing to dig the trench behind a pair of trees.

Dramatic video of the North Korean soldier’s daring dash to freedom while being fired upon by his former comrades was released by the United Nations Command on Wednesday.

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SOURCE: CNN, Ray Sanchez