North Korea warned South Korea it may retaliate after accusing U.S. troops of conducting reconnaissance near the tense border and taking photos with women and drinking there.
South Korea's Defense Ministry and the American-led U.N. Command _ which oversees an armistice that ended the Korean War in the 1950s _ dismissed the accusations as groundless. They were "not true" and the North made similar accusations in the past, U.N. Command spokesman Kim Yong-kyu said.
The U.N. Command has jurisdiction over the demilitarized zone and command troops have only patrolled along the Korean demilitarized zone, Kim and South Korean Defense Ministry officials said.
North Korea's conveyed the warning to South Korea on Sunday, accusing Seoul of permitting "the U.S. imperialist aggressor troops" to come as close as some 65 feet (20 meters) from the border to monitor vehicle and personnel movements in the North, according to Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency.
A KCNA dispatch accused the U.S. troops of bringing women to the area and take photos together, drinking and hurling liquor bottles to North Korean guard posts.
"The North side warns that it will no longer tolerate the above-said grave military provocation" that could trigger unspecified retaliation and cost human casualties, the KCNA said.
Tension on the peninsula sharply spiked last year after a warship was sunk and the North shelled a South Korean front-line island, killing a total of 50 South Koreans. North Korea denies it attacked the ship.
The Korean peninsula technically remains in state of war because the Korean War armistice has never been replaced with a peace treaty. About 28,500 U.S. soldiers are stationed in South Korea to help deter potential North Korean aggression.