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SEOUL, Dec. 28 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — Some of North Korean special forces stationed at the border with South Korea have dressed up in military uniforms with the same camouflage pattern as South Korean soldiers’ uniforms, a military source here said Tuesday.
The North’s tactic, confirmed by the South’s military for the first time this year, is believed to be intended to effectively confuse South Korean troops as the special forces have held drills to hone their ability to infiltrate the South, the source said on condition of anonymity.
“It was confirmed, for the first time this year, that North Korean troops at the front-line land border are wearing uniforms with the same woodland camouflage pattern (as South Korean troops),” the source said.
“Our judgment is that the North’s special forces stationed there are staging drills for intrusion by wearing the uniforms.”
South Korea’s military has been developing a new combat uniform with digital camouflage since 2008. It has already been supplied to the South’s special warfare forces and will be distributed from next July to other troops.
The South’s military is now considering distributing the new uniform earlier than scheduled, in line with the North’s move, the source said.
The North is believed to have some 200,000 special forces, an 11 percent increase from two years earlier, according to data by the South’s defense ministry. Of them, the North is believed to have completed deployment of some 50,000 troops along the border with the South.
The North’s bolstering of its special warfare capabilities means that the country intends to send such troops deep into South Korea to conduct a variety of attacks in case of conflicts, defense ministry officials said.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have remained acute following a series of military aggressions by the North, including the torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in March and the Nov. 23 shelling on a border island.
The bombardment on Yeonpyeong Island near the Yellow Sea border killed two South Korean marines and two civilians, marking the first attack on a civilian area in the South’s territory since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. (*)