North Korean defector was shot six times by border troops: UNC

15 November, 2017, 01:55 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Donald Trump in Asia

The Joint Chiefs of Staff says that North Korean security guards fired toward the southern area of the JSA.

South Korean forces have identified him only as "A" and said the man arrived in the country on Friday.

It wasn't immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he chose to defect.

A North Korean soldier was fighting for his life Tuesday in a South Korean hospital as new details emerged from his brazen dash for freedom across the Demilitarized Zone.

In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the truce village.

Soldiers from the North have occasionally defected to South Korea across the border but it is rare for a North Korean soldier to defect via the Joint Security Area, where border guards of the rival Koreas stand facing each other just metres apart, and be shot by fellow North Korean soldiers.

The defection came during escalated tensions between the North and the South and almost a week after President Trump visited Seoul for his five-country Asia tour.

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President Donald Trump attempted to visit the DMZ during his visit to South Korea last week, although it was not clear if he was heading to the Joint Security Area.

The move is considered highly unusual as even defectors from the North rarely cross directly over the border - usually crossing into China first before heading to Seoul - and South Korea's National Intelligence, army and police have launched a joint investigation.

South Korean military said there was no armed conflict after the incident, but they are "increasing alertness" for a possible provocation from North Korea.

The Unification Ministry said North Korean soldiers also defected across the JSA in 2007 and 1998, but military officials said no shooting occurred during those incidents.

The blitz across one of the world's most closely patrolled borders - the first such military defection in a decade - has riveted the region with elements that read like a scene from a movie, including the soldier being shot five times by his countrymen as he ran south on Monday. South Korean troops didn't fire at the North, he said.

Areas around Panmunjom were the site of bloodshed and defection attempts by North Koreans in the past, but there have been no such incidents in recent years.

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