World News

Korean soldier defects to South, suffers gunshot wounds from North

Korean soldier defects to South, suffers gunshot wounds from North

The wounded soldier required emergency evacuation, the statement said, after defecting from a North Korean guard post at the Joint Security Area (JSA) on the heavily-guarded border between the two countries.

The government will give another W66 billion to South Korean manufacturers who were kicked out of the cross-border Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea past year, it said Sunday (US$1=W1,120).

He defected from a North Korean guard post nearby and was being treated in hospital.

No personal details have been released but his uniform suggested he was low-ranking, Yonhap said.

He was shot by a North Korean soldier but succeeded in crossing, the JCS added, and has been evacuated for medical treatment.

A Joint Chiefs of Staff official said the soldier had regained consciousness but declined comment on whether his injuries were life-threatening.

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"Currently, there are no unusual signs in the North Korean military, but we are increasing alertness against the possibility of North Korean provocations", officials said.

A military official confirmed the incident took place.

About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, but majority travel through China.

After hearing several rounds of gunfire, the South Korean military found him fallen and bleeding on the southern side of the JSA, 25 minutes later, according to the military.

No tourists were in the Joint Security Area at the time because such tours do not run on Monday, said a spokesman for United States Forces Korea which approves the visits.

The defector is now in South Korean military custody, according to the statement. In September it carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test, of what it described as a hydrogen bomb.


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