Saturday, 18 November, 2017

North Korean soldier defects to South Korea at truce village

The soldier was shot as he defected to South Korea GETTY SHOT The soldier was hit by a bullet as he defected to South Korea
Howard Terry | 15 November, 2017, 00:52

A North Korean soldier defected to the South by driving a vehicle to the line that divides the peninsula, then sprinting across it as his former comrades opened fire, the United Nations Command said Tuesday.

The stunning escape in a jointly secured area of the Demilitarized Zone happened at a time of high tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, raising fears the communist state could conduct a provocation after a two-month lull in missile-testing activity.

North Korean soldiers shot at the unidentified North Korean soldier when he ran from the guard post at the northern side of the village, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

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

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.

"They really want to know what is his end game", said DiMaggio, a scholar at New America who specializes in talking with rogue regimes and has spent almost two decades in secret discussions with the North Koreans.

"He crossed from a North Korea post towards our [South Korean] Freedom House", the South said in a statement.

All channels for dialogue are now cut off between Seoul and Pyongyang after North Korea's relentless development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

South Korea's military has strengthened vigilance in the wake of the incident and remains prepared for any situation, the JCS said.

He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, the Defence Ministry said.

"His organs are extremely damaged. we do not know how long he can hold up", Lee said, describing the soldier's condition as "very serious". We urge the top brass to get to the bottom of the case involving North Korean soldiers shooting at a fleeing defector and come up with measures to prevent such a mishap in the future. The attack prompted Washington to fly nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate North Korea.

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