The south Korean military reportedly raised the alert level to indicate an increased danger of infiltration at a time when the presidential elections in the United States were attracting world attention, an event that could potentially affect the political situation on the Korean peninsula.
The alarm was raised after an unidentified person presumably crossed the inner-Korean border near Goseong County in the east, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported late Tuesday, citing military officials.
They stated that the troops stationed there had been put on “Jindogae” alert, a status that indicates that an intrusion by armed commands from North Korea is more likely than usual.
A statement by the Chiefs of General Staff then revealed that a North Korean man had been captured. The alert remained active until an investigation of the incident was completed.
The situation came to a head when South Korea’s only ally, the United States, ran against rival former Democratic vice-president Joe Biden in the parliamentary election of President Donald Trump.
Trump first raised the temperature on the Korean peninsula after taking office and threatened the nuclear-armed state throughout 2017, before reversing course and embarking on a diplomatic path with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.
In 2018, Trump became the first incumbent U.S. leader to meet with a North Korean ruler, with whom he met twice more before negotiations stalled and the harsh rhetoric returned.
Biden criticized Trump’s direct involvement with Kim, but at the same time vowed to strive for a negotiated denuclearization of North Korea.
The latest incident occurred only about a week or so after the commemorative ceremonies held several weeks after the unveiling of a new massive intercontinental ballistic missile and other equipment by a large North Korean military parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the ruling Korean Workers Party and about two weeks after the ceremonies held in both North Korea and China to commemorate the latter’s entry into the Korean War of the 1950s.
During the bloody conflict, which is not yet technically over, Chinese troops supported their North Korean comrades against a United Nations coalition that included mainly U.S. and South Korean forces.
This is an evolving story that will be updated with more information as it becomes available.