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How did North Korean soldiers wander across the world's most heavily guarded border?

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How did North Korean soldiers wander across the world's most heavily guarded border?
News

News

How did North Korean soldiers wander across the world's most heavily guarded border?

2024-06-21 15:31 Last Updated At:15:40

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Don’t believe the name: The Demilitarized Zone between the two rival Koreas might be the most heavily armed place on earth. Two million mines, barbed wire fences, tank traps and tens of thousands of troops from both countries patrol a divided swath of land 248 kilometers (154 miles) long and 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) wide.

So how are North Korean soldiers continuing to wander over the line separating North from South, causing South Korea to fire warning shots for the third time this month?

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FILE - Two North Korea's closed-circuit television cameras atop of North Korean military guard post, film the south side at the border village of the Panmunjom (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Don’t believe the name: The Demilitarized Zone between the two rival Koreas might be the most heavily armed place on earth. Two million mines, barbed wire fences, tank traps and tens of thousands of troops from both countries patrol a divided swath of land 248 kilometers (154 miles) long and 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) wide.

A South Korean national flag flutters in the wind at the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A South Korean national flag flutters in the wind at the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor looks at the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor looks at the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor uses binoculars to see the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor uses binoculars to see the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor uses binoculars to see the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor uses binoculars to see the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

North Korea's military guard post is seen through the wire fences in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

North Korea's military guard post is seen through the wire fences in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

The short answer appears to be shrubbery: Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides.

But it's also just the latest entry in the long, often violent history of the unique border set up after the 1950-53 Korean War. It ended with an armistice, instead of a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula divided, and technically still in a state of war.

Here’s a look at the events surrounding the incursion:

On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North Koreans retreated shortly after South Korean soldiers broadcast a warning and fired the shots Thursday morning, but didn’t immediately release more details.

Similar incidents took place on June 9 and June 18, each involving some 20 to 30 North Korean soldiers briefly crossing the demarcation line and retreating shortly after the South Koreans broadcast audio warnings and fired warning shots.

South Korea’s military says the incursions were likely accidents, noting that the North Koreans did not return fire and withdrew immediately.

The demarcation line, in many parts of the DMZ, is simply a sign mounted on a stick or a slice of concrete.

People have stepped across it before, under very special circumstances, and usually at the border village of Panmunjom. Former U.S. President Donald Trump walked across with Kim Jong Un. Last year an American soldier facing possible military discipline dashed over the line to the North.

Outside of Panmunjom, much of the DMZ is wilderness, but it is heavily monitored on both sides. And while the demarcation line may be easily crossed, it is very difficult to do so without being spotted immediately.

The southern side of the land border is protected not only by thousands of soldiers, guns and mines, but also by a dense network of cameras, motion sensors and other high-tech surveillance equipment. Breaches are very rare and are usually detected quickly. Defections from the North are also unusual along the North-South land border, though they have happened with frequency along the porous China-North Korea border and occasionally in the Yellow Sea.

The North’s accidental intrusions this month may have been caused by a sudden jump in North Korean troops fortifying their side of the border.

Because overgrown trees and plants may have been obscuring the signs marking the demarcation line, Seoul says, the North Korean troops may have stepped over the line without knowing it.

Relations between the rival Koreas are worse now than in many years.

Recent weeks have seen a tit-for-tat standoff that has resulted in Cold War-style psychological warfare. Both sides have said they are no longer bound by a landmark military agreement in 2018 to reduce tensions.

The North Koreans along the border, Seoul says, have been installing what appear to be anti-tank barriers, reinforcing roads and planting land mines, even as mine explosions have killed or wounded an unspecified number of North Korean soldiers.

The construction started around April and may be an attempt to curb North Koreans trying to defect to the South, according to Seoul’s military.

Animosities may worsen as Kim continues to accelerate his nuclear weapons and missiles development and align with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the face of their separate, escalating confrontations with Washington.

On Thursday, South Korea’s government condemned an agreement by Kim and Putin at their summit this week in which the two nations vowed to aid each other if attacked. In turn, Seoul said it will consider sending arms to Ukraine to help it fight Russia’s invasion.

Possibly, especially if the North Korean construction continues along the demarcation line.

But both sides appear intent on containing their animosities to the psychological warfare they’re engaging in.

Still, there are worries that the hostilities are pushing them closer to a direct military clash. The Koreas have had no meaningful talks for years and could find it difficult to set up dialogue as tensions rise over the North’s development of nuclear-capable weapons.

Some analysts say the Koreas’ poorly marked western sea boundary — site of skirmishes and attacks in past years — is more likely to be a crisis point than the land border.

Kim, during a fiery speech in January, reiterated that his country does not recognize the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea, which was drawn up by the U.S.-led U.N. Command at the end of the war. North Korea insists on a boundary that encroaches deeply into South Korea-controlled waters.

While the huge military presence on both sides of the DMZ means that years sometimes pass without incident, violence can quickly erupt. Two American Army officers were axed to death in 1976 by North Korean soldiers, for instance.

Klug, AP's news director for the Koreas, reported from Tokyo.

FILE - Two North Korea's closed-circuit television cameras atop of North Korean military guard post, film the south side at the border village of the Panmunjom (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

FILE - Two North Korea's closed-circuit television cameras atop of North Korean military guard post, film the south side at the border village of the Panmunjom (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

A South Korean national flag flutters in the wind at the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A South Korean national flag flutters in the wind at the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor looks at the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor looks at the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor uses binoculars to see the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor uses binoculars to see the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor uses binoculars to see the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A visitor uses binoculars to see the North Korean side from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

North Korea's military guard post is seen through the wire fences in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

North Korea's military guard post is seen through the wire fences in Paju, South Korea, Friday, June 21, 2024. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had fired warnings shots the previous day to repel several North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the military demarcation line that divides the countries while engaging in unspecified construction work. Because of an overgrowth of foliage, the North Koreans may not have seen the signs marking the thin military demarcation line that divides the DMZ into northern and southern sides since the 1950-53 Korean War. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

In this undated photo provided on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, by South Korea Defense Ministry, North Korean soldiers work at an undisclosed location near the border area, as seen from a South Korean guard area. South Korean soldiers fired warning shots to repel North Korean soldiers who temporarily crossed the rivals' land border Tuesday for the second time this month, South Korea's military said. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

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Stock market today: Wall Street rises toward records as its momentum keeps rolling

2024-07-15 21:33 Last Updated At:21:40

U.S. stocks are rising toward records as Wall Street’s momentum keeps driving it upward. The S&P 500 was 0.4% higher at the start of trading on Monday and on track to top its all-time high set last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 271 points and also on pace for a record, while the Nasdaq composite rose 0.5%. Some of the market’s best performing areas were ones that do best when former President Donald Trump’s chances for re-election look better. Trump Media & Technology Group, the company behind Trump’s Truth Social platform, soared nearly 42%. Longer-term Treasury yields rose.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

(AP) — Wall Street pushed higher Monday as markets absorb more corporate earnings and potential ramifications following a shooting at a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump

Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.5% before the bell and futures for Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6%.

Shares in Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. jumped sharply in premarket trading Monday, gaining as much as 70%. They were up more than 49% at $46.15 a share on the Nasdaq as of 9 a.m. local time in New York.

The shooting at Trump's rally in Butler, Pennsylvania is being investigated as an attempted assassination of the former president, who is seeking a second term in the nation's highest office. The Republican National Convention opens Monday in Milwaukee.

BlackRock edged less than 1% higher after the asset management company beat Wall Street profit targets. Investment bank Goldman Sachs rose just a fraction of a percent after it also beat analyst profit expectations.

Burberry shares skidded more than 15% Monday after the British luxury fashion house said it has appointed Joshua Schulman, formerly head of Michael Kors and Coach, as its new chief executive officer. Schulman, 52, replaces Jonathan Akeroyd.

The unexpected announcement came as Burberry said its first-quarter revenue was down 21% and it suspended its dividend.

At the Economic Club of Washington on Monday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will make his first public comments since last week's inflation data showed that consumer prices eased for the second straight month in June. Powell is expected to address questions about the U.S. and global economies and the data the central bank has been tracking in its effort to tame inflation.

Investors and economists will be parsing Powell's words for hints of when the Fed might start cutting rates. Most experts believe a September cut is more likely than one at the Fed's next meeting later this month.

Friday’s update on U.S. inflation said prices rose more at the wholesale level last month than economists expected, which was a letdown after data a day earlier said inflation at the consumer level was better than expected.

It’s the second straight month such expectations have eased, helping to calm worries about a potential spiral where expectations for high inflation could drive U.S. consumers toward behavior that would push inflation even higher. That in turn could give the Federal Reserve more of the evidence of slowing inflation that it says it needs to begin cutting its main interest rate, which is at its highest level in more than two decades.

Investors were also watching the four-day meeting in Beijing for measures to help revive the slumping property market and address huge local government debts.

China reported that its economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter as its ruling Communist Party opened a once-a-decade policy-setting meeting.

Annual economic growth fell from 5.3% in the first quarter but the 5% pace of growth in the first half of the year was in line with the government's forecast for about 5% growth for 2024. In quarterly terms, the economy expanded 0.7%, down from 1.5% in the first quarter.

“The set of economic data releases from China this morning has not been promising ahead of their upcoming Big Plenum, with the data once again pointing to a mixed bag for the world’s second largest economy,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a commentary.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.5% early Monday to 18,021.73 on heavy selling of property developers. The Shanghai Composite slipped less than 0.1% to 2,970.77.

The central bank left its medium-term lending rate unchanged, as expected, at 2.5%. It's the rate for Chinese banks to borrow from the People's Bank of China for 6 months to one year and indirectly affects other benchmark rates that affect interest rates on mortgages and other loans.

Markets in Tokyo were closed for a public holiday.

In Seoul, the Kospi edged 0.1% higher to 2,860.92, while the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.7% to 8,017.60. Taiwan's Taiex lost 0.2% and the SET in Bangkok shed 0.4%.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX and London's FTSE each turned 0.5% lower while the CAC 40 in Paris declined 0.7%.

In other dealings early Monday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 7 cents to $82.14 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international standard, also lost 7 cents to $84.96 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar fell to 158.08 Japanese yen from 158.16 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.0905 from $1.0894.

Friday on Wall Street, U.S. stocks rose after mixed signals on big banks’ profits and inflation did little to dent Wall Street’s belief that easier interest rates are on the way.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.6% to close its fifth winning week in the last six. The Dow rose 0.6% and the Nasdaq composite added 0.6%. The Russell 2000 rallied 1.1%, nearly double the S&P 500’s gain, and closed out its best week in eight months.

FILE - People pass the New York Stock Exchange July 10, 2024, in New York. World shares began trading mixed on Monday, July 15, 2024, after China reported that its economy expanded at a lower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

FILE - People pass the New York Stock Exchange July 10, 2024, in New York. World shares began trading mixed on Monday, July 15, 2024, after China reported that its economy expanded at a lower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

A currency trader walks near the screen showing the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 15, 2024. Asian shares began the week trading mixed as China reported that its economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A currency trader walks near the screen showing the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 15, 2024. Asian shares began the week trading mixed as China reported that its economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

FILE - The Fearless Girl statues faces the New York Stock Exchange on July 2, 2024, in New York. Global stocks are mixed on Friday, July 12, 2024, with the Japanese yen losing some of its gains after the latest U.S. update on inflation bolstered Wall Street's belief that relief on interest rates may come as soon as September. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

FILE - The Fearless Girl statues faces the New York Stock Exchange on July 2, 2024, in New York. Global stocks are mixed on Friday, July 12, 2024, with the Japanese yen losing some of its gains after the latest U.S. update on inflation bolstered Wall Street's belief that relief on interest rates may come as soon as September. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

A currency trader walks near the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 15, 2024. Asian shares began the week trading mixed as China reported that its economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A currency trader walks near the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 15, 2024. Asian shares began the week trading mixed as China reported that its economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Currency traders watch computer monitors near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), center, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 15, 2024. Asian shares began the week trading mixed as China reported that its economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Currency traders watch computer monitors near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), center, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 15, 2024. Asian shares began the week trading mixed as China reported that its economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

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