North Korea’s state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Monday urged Seoul to deconstruct its concrete antitank structure lying between the two Koreas for the last 36 years.
Built under the orders of former South Korean President Park Chung-hee in 1977, the wall was called a “fundamental reason for the long-lasting division of the Korean Peninsula” by North Korean media.“The concrete wall is heavily fortified with watch towers and structures that can be equipped with heavy weaponry in a short time,” read the Monday edition of the Rodong Sinmun. “The wall has automated iron gates that can be opened at any time for South Korean forces to march into North Korea. The wall is serving as a fortification for an offensive against North Korea.”
Tearing down the walls has been a talking point of the North’s for at least two and a half decades. Just six months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, on May 25, 1990, North Korean national founder Kim Il Sung addressed their presence.
“The deconstruction of the concrete wall must proceed to accomplish the unification of the Korean Peninsula,” he said at the time.
North Korea’s media has claimed that the wall 240 kilometers long, 8 meters high and 19 meters thick underground, and 7 meters thick above ground. State media also described the wall as a “structure that divides one nation and one ethnic group (minjok) into two,” apparently linking the structure to the Berlin Wall, as one that forcefully divides a nation.
Seoul in 1990 invited local and foreign media to look at a “concrete wall” between the two sides, to demonstrate that the structure is only part of South Korea’s defensive measures against North Korea’s armored units.
A Yonhap News Agency article from 1999 also refuted North Korea’s claim of the wall being 240 kilometers long, writing that the defensive walls were total 44.6 km long, 7.5 meters high, 5 meters thick on top and 16.3 meters thick on the bottom.
“The defensive wall and antitank obstacles are there to effectively stop North Korean tanks from marching into Seoul,” said Kim Min-seok, senior researcher at the Korea Defense and Security Forum.
Kim explained that the presence of the concrete wall would effectively halt the march of North Korean armored units by up to 48 hours or more.
“The Western front of the DMZ is not as mountainous as other parts of the DMZ, making the region ideal for tanks to move in. Having the permanent concrete wall is far more effective than using bombs and missiles to bring down the roads or bridges to accomplish the same job during a crisis,” Kim said.
Kim pointed out that keeping North Koreans pinned down for 18 to 24 hours would buy South Koreans enough time to mobilize their reserve forces against North Korea.
As of Monday, the South Korean government has not responded to North Korea’s coverage on concrete obstacles. – NK News