Defecting North Korean soldier critical after escape in hail of bullets

A soldier fled North Korea today – getting shot

A soldier fled North Korea today – getting shot

The man who is reportedly a low ranking soldier, was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was picked up bleeding on the south side of the border known as the Joint Security Area (JSA).

Seo said that at around 3:14 p.m. on Monday, the JCS spotted three North Korean soldiers moving south of the Panmungak, or the North's main building in the Joint Security Area.

"He is undergoing a second round of operations and we can't reach the operating room as they are working on him", a spokeswoman at Ajou University Hospital told Reuters by telephone, seeking anonymity because of security concerns.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency said Saturday that the presence of the three carriers was part of Washington's "sinister intention to maintain military hegemony in the region".

The South Korean ministry official said the soldier's condition and military rank remained to be verified.

"There will need to be some questioning on why he defected after his treatment is over", ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a regular briefing.

The North's official media haven't reported the case as of Tuesday afternoon.

Signs have been detected that North Korea's military is preparing for winter drills that will begin in December, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The U.N. military armistice commission said it had informed the North Korean military that the soldier, who was found about 50 metres (150 feet) south of a Military Demarcation Line, was undergoing surgery for his wounds.


South Korean soldiers did not fire their weapons, but Monday's incident occurred at a time of high animosity over North Korea's nuclear program.

South Korean officials have yet to identify where the soldier came from or what his intentions were.

It's unclear what the soldier's conditions are or why he made a decision to defect to the South.

There was no immediate comment on the incident from North Korea. While both sides of the DMZ are guarded by barbed wire fences, mines and tank traps, the JSA includes the truce village of Panmunjom which provides the site for rare talks and draws curious tourists.

Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, was photographed by North Korean soldiers while he stood inside one of the huts during a visit to the DMZ in March.

The U.N. Command, in place since the end of the war, said an investigation into the incident was being conducted.

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.

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

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