Clinton's brief incursion onto N. Korea turf draws guard's attention
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Robert Gates finally got North Korea's attention Wednesday - by making an incursion across the border into communist territory.
The secretary of state and defense secretary haven't had much luck persuading the hermit regime in Pyongyang to take responsibility for the deadly March attack on the Cheonan, a South Korean warship. So far, North Korea has ignored threats of U.S-South Korean military exercises and new financial sanctions, shrugging off accusations that it was to blame for torpedoing the Cheonan and killing 46 South Korean sailors.
But North Korean guards were quick to take notice as soon as Clinton and Gates took a few steps onto their soil during a visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone on Wednesday, the no-man's land that has separated the two countries since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
As part of their tour of the DMZ, the two secretaries entered a trailer-sized conference building - administered by the U.N. Command Military Armistice Commission - that is bisected by the North-South border. The building serves as a neutral meeting spot for both sides and features a small conference table in the middle.
Guided by U.N. and U.S. soldiers, Clinton and Gates walked around the conference table and strode momentarily onto North Korea's turf. While allowed under U.N. rules, the movements attracted the scrutiny of at least one North Korean guard outside the building, who walked up to a window and at gawked directly at the U.S. visitors, just a few arm-lengths away.
U.S. soldiers stationed at the DMZ said the North Koreans regularly engage in such peeping tom behavior whenever VIPs or tourists visit the conference building; apparently, it's meant as an intimidation tactic.
-- Craig Whitlock and Karen DeYoung.
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