Science

Korean soldier defects to South

Korean soldier defects to South

A North Korean soldier has defected to South Korea at the heavily protected Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), South Korea's military says.

"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.

The guards crawled toward him and took him to the back of Freedom House.

It was not immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he chose to defect.

They will aim to enhance combined operation and aerial strike capabilities and also display "strong will and firm military readiness to defeat any provocation by North Korea with dominant force in the event of crisis", Seoul's military said in a statement.

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

During his visit to Seoul last week, Trump warned North Korea he was prepared to use the full range of USA military power to stop any attack, but in a more conciliatory appeal than ever before he urged Pyongyang to "make a deal" to end the nuclear standoff. An estimated 1,000 people flee Kim Jong Un's volatile regime each year, but going through the DMZ - fortified with land mines, barbed wires and machine guns - have been extremely rare because of the risky conditions. South Korea did not fire on the soldier who defected, according to its military.

It's the first time since a 2007 exercise near Guam that three U.S. carrier strike groups are operating together in the Western Pacific, according to the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet.

No personal details have been released but the soldier's uniform suggested he was low-ranking, Yonhap said.

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It said an investigation into Monday's event was ongoing. More than a million mines are buried inside the zone.

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.

The fall is believed to be a result of tighter government surveillance and reinforced border security by both North Korea and China.

Areas around Panmunjom have been the site of bloodshed and defection attempts by North Koreans in the past, but there have been no such incidents in recent years.

Trump muddied the water later on his Asia visit by Tweeting that North Korean leader Kim had insulted him by calling him "old" and said he would never call Kim "short and fat". In September the North carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test, of what it described as a hydrogen bomb.

The 1984 exchange of gunfire happened after North Korean soldiers crossed the border and fired, according to the U.N. Command. South Korea said the 12 women, and one man, had chosen to defect to the South.

The JSA is jointly overseen by the American-led U.N. Command and by North Korea, with South Korean and North Korean border guards facing each other only meters (feet) apart.

The Associated Press contribute to this report.


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