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US special forces ‘parachuted into North Korea’

13/06/2012
English: Entrance to the 4th Infiltration Tunn...

English: Entrance to the 4th Infiltration Tunnel, north of Haen town, Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) 한국어: 第4땅굴 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

US and South Korean special forces have been parachuting into North Korea to gather intelligence about underground military installations, according to a senior US officer.

Army Brigadier General Neil Tolley, commander of US special forces in South Korea, told a conference held in Florida last week that Pyongyang had built thousands of tunnels since the Korean war, The Diplomat reported.

“The entire tunnel infrastructure is hidden from our satellites,” Gen Tolley said. “So we send (South Korean) soldiers and US soldiers to the North to do special reconnaissance.”

“After 50 years, we still don’t know much about the capability and full extent” of the underground facilities,” he said, in comments reported by the National Defense Industrial Association‘s magazine on its website.

Gen Tolley said the commandos were sent in with minimal equipment to facilitate their movements and minimize the risk of detection by North Korean forces.

At least four of the tunnels built by Pyongyang go under the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, Tolley said.

“We don’t know how many we don’t know about,” he admitted.

Among the facilities identified are 20 air fields that are partially underground, and thousands of artillery positions.

A spokesman for US forces in South Korea subsequently dismissed the media report.

“Some reporting has taken great liberal licence with his comments and taken him completely out of context,” Colonel Jonathan Withington, of the public affairs office of US Forces Korea, said in a statement.

“No US or ROK (Republic of Korea) forces have parachuted into North Korea,” he said. “Though special reconnaissance is a core special operations force mission, at no time have SOF forces been sent to the north to conduct special reconnaissance.

“The use of tunnels in North Korea is well documented,” he added. “Several of the known tunnels along the DMZ are visited by tourists every day.”
The Telegraph

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