Seoul: North Koreans fire at soldier trying to defect to South

Seoul: North Koreans fire at soldier trying to defect to South

Seoul: North Koreans fire at soldier trying to defect to South

"In the afternoon today, a North Korean soldier defected from a guard post on the North Korean side of the JSA toward our side and our military took him", the Yonhap news agency quoted an unidentified military official as saying.

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.

South Korean military said there was no armed conflict after the incident, but they are "increasing alertness" for a possible provocation from North Korea.

The defection came at a time of heightened tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, and could escalate animosities between the rival countries.

About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, with most travel through China. According to The New York Times, following a blast of gunfire, South Korean troops found a bleeding North Korean soldier on their side of the border on Monday (13 November). South Korean troops didn't fire at the North, he said.

DiMaggio has held secret backchannel talks with North Korean officials four times over the past year, The Daily Telegraph reports, and has been a negotiator between the United States and North Korea for more than 20 years.

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The soldier's successful escape makes only the fourth defection by a North Korean soldier through the DMZ in the last three years, the BBC reported. They stand only several meters (yards) away from tall South Korean soldiers wearing aviator sunglasses and standing motionless like statues.

North Korea has typically accused South Korea of enticing its citizens to defect, something the South denies.

The most famous incident was in 1976, when two American army officers were killed by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers.

"He then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south across the line as he was sacked upon by other soldiers from North Korea", the UNC said in a statement. In September the North carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test, of what it described as a hydrogen bomb. The incident left three North Korean soldiers and one South Korean soldier dead.

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