North Korean Soldier Is Shot While Defecting Across DMZ, South Says

15 November, 2017, 01:54 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Left to right Russian President Vladimir Putin U.S. President Donald Trump Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk to the group

A United Nations agency said today the North Korean soldier who crossed over to South Korea on Monday was "shot six times by North Korean border troops" as he made his way across the heavily guarded border separating the two countries.

A soldier from the Korean People's Army (KPA) has defected to the South at Panmunjom, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on Monday. He was reportedly in critical condition.

The Joint Security Area in Panmunjom is the only place in 155-mile-long and 2 ½ mile-wide Korean Demilitarized Zone where military-level meetings are held between the UN Command and North Korea.

Over the decades since the peninsula was divided, dozens of North Korean soldiers have fled to the South through the DMZ, which extends for two kilometers either side of the actual borderline.

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North Korea has not commented on the shooting, but it usually responds angrily to defections and often accuses South Korea of kidnapping its citizens.

The defection came at a time of heightened tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, and could escalate animosities between the rival countries. Meanwhile, a USA citizen was caught by South Korean authorities trying to make the reverse trip across the border.

While on average more than 1,000 North Koreans defect to South Korea every year, most travel via China and it is unusual for a North Korean to cross the land border with South Korea. He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, the South's Defense Ministry said. In that short period of time, four North Korean soldiers shot as many as 40 rounds at him.

The soldier sped toward a guard post, but the vehicle's wheels got stuck in a ditch, Roh told reporters.

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A North Korean soldier was shot by his fellow troops as he was defecting to the south across the demilitarised zone but still managed to successfully cross the border.

"We will have to ride out some crucial moments over the next 10 days", Lee said.

"The military has raised its alertness against the North Korean military's possible provocations and is maintaining its full readiness posture", the official said. His helicopter had to turn back because of bad weather.

Violence has broken out in the area in the past.

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Seo said that shortly after, one North Korean soldier was seen crossing toward the South on a jeep.

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