In the latest series of attempts to prevent possible defections, North Korea has now enhanced security and surveillance in its border areas with China. Authorities were also reportedly spotted planting anti-personnel landmines near the inter-Korean border.
In the wake of the defection of Thae Yong-ho, a London-based diplomat who fled to Seoul, Kim Jong-un's administration has intensified inspection of its people. Besides, it was thought to be the first time since 1953 that the North was seen laying mines on a small bridge last week, Yonhap news reported.
The so-called Bridge of No Return in Panmunjeom area is a military demarcation line between the North and South, and the inter-Korean armistice agreement has prevented the two Koreas from attacking each other. The act by Kim Jong-un's regime "appears to be designed to prevent its front-line servicemen from defecting", Yonhap quoted sources as saying.
The South Korean news agency also cited another source as saying that a massive scrutiny is under way in the North's border city of Hyesan in Ryanggang province. Security officials under Kim's regime reportedly survey residential areas in the city on a daily basis and teach residents about North Korea's politics and culture, a move seen as an attempt to instill patriotism among its citizens.
Further, the regime is concerned about the number of people fleeing the country and has urged people smugglers to report about citizens attempting to cross into China. It was also reported that average North Koreans are unaware of the London diplomat's defection.
The North has remained cautious while selecting its frontline soldiers to ensure their loyalty and allegiance to the regime as they are often exposed to the South Korean military's psychological operations along the 4km wide military buffer zone, the news agency said.
Following Thae's defection, the isolated nation is believed to have ordered all diplomats' children – aged 25 years and above – in foreign countries to return home. The latest defection also threatened Kim's stand on the issue with some media reports claiming the North is likely to reach any extent, including assassination attempts on those who have already defected, to avoid future defections.