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

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

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.

A North Korean soldier fled to South Korea through a hail of bullets in the Joint Security Area on Monday afternoon.

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

But there was no direct exchange of gunfire between South and North Korean guards in the process.

Seo said the North Korean soldier appears to have been shot in five places, adding that he had his first operation on Monday.

North Korean soldiers have occasionally defected to South Korea across the border.

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The fact that the defector drove to the frontier suggests he may not have been a member of the elite corps of North Korean troops posted to Panmunjom, who are carefully vetted and selected for their loyalty.

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.

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

Panmunjomis where an armistice was signed to pause the Korean War.

Four North Korean soldiers chased after him, firing at least 40 rounds, including some with an AK-47 assault rifle, officials said Tuesday after reviewing security camera footage from the border.

Suzanne DiMaggio, a director at the think tank New America, told Politico that North Korean officials are confused by the USA president's increasingly "erratic behaviour" and "really want to know what his end game is". In 1984, a Soviet tourist sprinted across the demarcation line from North Korea in a bid to defect, prompting a gun battle that killed and wounded several soldiers from both sides. 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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