North Korea Denies Setting Land Mines That Maimed South Koreans

North Korea denied setting land mines that maimed two South Korean soldiers, contending the devices that exploded were South Korean ones dislodged by heavy rainfall.

North Korea would rely on “powerful firearms rather than meddle with mines” in the demilitarized zone to achieve a military goal, the National Defense Commission said Friday in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un heads the commission.

South Korea said Monday a set of wooden-box mines recently planted by North Korean troops went off on Aug. 4 south of the demarcation line, wounding two soldiers on patrol. South Korea’s Defense Ministry vowed to make North Korea “pay a severe price” and has since resumed propaganda broadcasts using loudspeakers along a section of the border.

The United Nations Command in Seoul, led by U.S. Forces Korea commander General Curtis Scaparrotti, also determined the mines were recently planted rather than dislodged by rains or shifting soil, it said in an e-mailed statement. The UN Command called for military talks between the Koreas over the blasts.

Hundreds of thousands of troops on both sides of the border guard the demilitarized zone that bisects the peninsula, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty. No high-level talks have taken place between the two Koreas since February last year.