An unnamed source told the Chosun Ilbo news agency that North Korea on Monday deployed close to 80 tanks in Ryanggang Province where the army corps is stationed. The 12th Corps was formed in 2010 as an emergency response force to Chinese troop movements.
It added that not a single tank had been in the province before, and the 12th Corps has been “turned into an attack force after it has been reinforced.” In addition to tanks, it has also received an armored infantry unit, rocket launchers, and a special warfare and sharpshooter brigade.
North Korea’s troop and tank movement comes just days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a large military drill to practice protecting him during an assassination attempt.
The large military movement follows a similar movement on the Chinese side of the border, which included tanks and attack helicopters. In late April, China’s 39th Army held an emergency military drill near the North Korean border. Its 39th Army is similarly tasked with defending the Korean Peninsula during war.
Tensions have been high. Since December, North Korea has been fortifying its border with China and building concrete machine-gun pillboxes—also in response to Chinese military drills that have been taking place along the border since December.
North Korea Reform Radio claims that each military platoon on the border was tasked to build three concrete machine-gun nests, according to Chosun Ilbo.
The radio broadcast also claimed that all South Korean businessmen in China’s Dandong and Yanji cities are actually South Korean soldiers in camouflage.