World Bulletin/News Desk
South Korea’s military leaders have vowed to take “strong legal action” against civilians who falsely claim to have found secret North Korean tunnels – aside from the four already officially recognized near the heavily-guarded inter-Korean border.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff statement via press release came Friday after a full search of alleged underground passages near Seoul.
“In order to dissipate suspicions, the military scoured the areas for four days from Monday, mobilizing more than 100 military and civilian personnel as well as 26 units of equipment," the statement said.
Civic groups recently claimed to have found 12 tunnels in Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul.
A press conference delivered by so-called tunnel hunters last month prompted a terse reply from the defense ministry, whose spokesperson described the claims as “groundless.”
After drilling “a dozen holes” and carrying out “diverse analyses including sound waves,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff categorically stated Friday, “not a single sign has been found to indicate that such underground tunnels exist.”
It said the groups’ allegations waste military resources and cause “security jitters among the people.”
The four tunnels the military does recognize were found between 1974 and 1990 -- and have become a border tourist attraction.
A vast four-kilometer wide Demilitarized Zone was established at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War as part of a ceasefire agreement.
Before North Korea developed its missile capabilities, digging tunnels was considered to be among its more likely attack strategies if fighting were to break out again.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Aralık 2014, 12:51