North Korean Soldier Is Shot While Defecting Across DMZ, South Says
15 November, 2017, 00:50 | Author: Brenda Erickson
The soldier drove a jeep toward a guard post in the Joint Security Area just after 3 p.m. on Monday, said Col. Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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.
It was the first shooting in the Joint Security Area since 1984, but USA and South Korean forces did not return fire.
Among issues the North Koreans have raised with her in recent months, DiMaggio said, were everything from Trump's tweet urging Tillerson to give up on diplomacy with North Korea ("Is this a good cop/bad cop that he's doing with Tillerson?") to Trump's decision this fall to decertify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal forged by his predecessor, Barack Obama. The last time a North Korean soldier defected through there was in 2007 and, before that, in 1998.
It was not immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he made a decision to defect.
"He then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south across the line as he was sacked upon by other soldiers from North Korea", UNC said in a statement.
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The area is a popular place for tourists and visiting officials, not least because once inside the blue meeting huts that straddle the border, visitors can technically cross the line, although soldiers guard the doors out to the other side.
Unlike the rest of the frontier, Panmunjom is not fortified with minefields and barbed wire and the border is marked only by a low concrete divider.
After being shot, he took cover near a building on the southern side of the JSA before South Korean and American troops came to his aid.
A JCS official quoted by Yonhap news agency said the South's soldiers heard a gunshot and then retrieved the unarmed soldier in the mid-afternoon.
There have been previous defections at Panmunjom, most notably in 1984 when Vasily Yakovlevich Matuzok - an elite student from Moscow who was being groomed to become a Soviet diplomat - sprinted across the border and triggered a 30-minute gun battle that left four dead.
US President Donald Trump believes North Korea's nuclear weapons are a greater threat than Russia's alleged interference in his election and wants to work with Moscow to counter that threat, an aide said Sunday.
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