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NKorea Accuses US of Provoking Troops  04/29 06:23

   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea on Friday accused U.S. soldiers of 
trying to provoke its frontline troops with "disgusting" acts and encouraging 
South Korean soldiers to aim their guns at the North.

   A North Korean military statement warned U.S. soldiers to stop what it 
called "hooliganism" at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom or they'll 
meet a "dog's death any time and any place."

   "GIs hurled fully armed MPs of the South Korean puppet army into 
perpetrating such dangerous provocations as aiming at" the North Korean 
military side last week, said the statement carried by Pyongyang's official 
Korean Central News Agency.

   It said U.S. troops pointed their fingers at North Korean soldiers and made 
strange noises and unspecified "disgusting" facial expressions.

   North Korea occasionally accuses South Korean and U.S. troops of trying to 
provoke its border troops and vice versa. After North Korea's first nuclear 
bomb test in 2006, the U.S. accused North Korean troops of spitting across the 
border's demarcation line, making throat-slashing hand gestures and flashing 
their middle fingers.

   The latest North Korean accusation came a day after South Korean and U.S. 
officials said two suspected medium-range missile launches by North Korea ended 
in failure. In recent weeks, North Korea fired a barrage of missiles and 
artillery shells into the sea in an apparent response to annual South 
Korea-U.S. military drills that end Saturday.

   The U.S. and South Korean militaries had no immediate official responses.

   About 28,000 American troops are deployed in South Korea to deter potential 
aggression from North Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in 
an armistice and not a peace treaty.

   Panmunjom, located inside the 4-kilometer- (2.5-mile-) wide Demilitarized 
Zone that bisects the Korean Peninsula, is where the 1953 armistice was signed. 
It remains one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints, but Panmunjom --- 
jointly overseen by North Korea and the American-led U.N. Command --- is also a 
popular tourist spot drawing visitors on both sides.

   Visitors from the southern side are often told by tour guides to be 
extremely careful about what gestures they make so as not to antagonize the 
nearby North Korean soldiers.


(KA)

 
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