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

15 November, 2017, 00:53 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • North Korean soldier defects to South Korea at truce village

The defection came less than a week after President Donald Trump made his first official visit to South Korea amid soaring tensions over the growing nuclear and missile threat from the North.

Panmunjom, once an obscure farming village inside the 2 1/2-mile-wide Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, is where an armistice was signed to pause the Korean War. The JSA is a tense area where South and North Korean soldiers confront each other face-to-face, day after day.

South Korean troops found the injured soldier south of the border after hearing sounds of gunfire, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said, requesting anonymity, citing department rules.

"The individual initially took cover near a building on the southern side of the JSA."U.S. and South Korean forces recovered him at about 4 p.m., then took him to Ajou University Medical Center south of Seoul, along with a UNC security escort and translator, it said".

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

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 military has raised its alertness against the North Korean military's possible provocations and is maintaining its full readiness posture", the official 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".

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. They stand only several meters (yards) away from tall South Korean soldiers wearing aviator sunglasses and standing motionless like statues. More than a million mines are believed to be buried inside the zone.

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. In September the North carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test, of what it described as a hydrogen bomb.

The Associated Press contribute to this report.

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