Warning Shots Fired by South Korea After North Korean Soldiers Cross Border

South Korean troops along the border with the North were forced to fire warning shots last weekend after a group of North Korean soldiers inadvertently crossed the Demilitarized Zone, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

North and South Korea are currently embroiled in a Cold War-style tit-for-tat at the border in which North Korea has sent garbage into the South via balloons in response to the South’s propaganda broadcasts into North Korea.

While the incident occurred as tensions between the two countries have been on the rise, it is unlikely the warning shots will lead to further escalation as the South believes that the North Korean soldiers had not intentionally crossed the border.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the incident occurred at 12:30 p.m. local time on Sunday, June 9 when a group of soldiers from the North who were engaging in work along the North’s border crossed the DMZ. The soldiers, who were carrying construction-related tools, immediately returned North after South Korean soldiers fired warning shots and broadcast a warning.

The soldiers did not appear to be conducting any suspicious activity and did not return fire before leaving the area, the Joint Chiefs said.

The soldiers cross the DMZ in a wooded area where the warning signs are not easily visible, Joint Chief’s spokesperson Lee Sung Joon told reporters last Tuesday.

While the Joint Chiefs offered no further details about the incident, local media said between 20 and 30 North Korean troops crossed roughly 165 feet into South Korean territory after likely losing their way. Most of the soldiers were carrying construction tools like pickaxes, the local media said.

The most heavily guarded border in the world, the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea is 2.5 miles wide and 2,155 miles long. Roughly 2 million landmines are laid within the DMZ, which is also reinforced at both borders by combat troops, barbed wire fencing, and tank traps.