Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

N.Korean Soldier Flees Through Hail of Bullets

N.Korean Soldier Flees Through Hail of Bullets

The soldier defected through Panmunjom village, along the Joint Security Area (JSA), which is policed by soldiers from both North Korea and South Korea.

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).

A North Korean soldier was fighting for his life Tuesday in a South Korean hospital as new details emerged from his brazen dash for freedom across the Demilitarized Zone.

"He has at least six gunshot wounds on his body and the penetrating wound in the abdomen is the most serious", the doctor, Lee Cook-Jong, told reporters, AFP said.

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According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the defector drove a vehicle into the northern side of the JSA before approaching an area just 10 meters (33 feet) from the Military Demarcation Line (MDL).

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

It was not immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he chose to defect. American presidents often visit Panmunjom and other DMZ areas during their trips to South Korea to reaffirm their security commitment to the South. Trump planned to visit the DMZ to underscore his stance against North Korea's nuclear program when he came to South Korea last week as part of an Asian tour, but his plans were thwarted by heavy fog that prevented his helicopter from landing at the border area.

"We will have to ride out some crucial moments over the next 10 days", Lee said.

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While on average more than 1,000 North Koreans defect to South Korea every year, most travel via China and it is unusual for a North Korean to cross the land border with South Korea.

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 US has around 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea. The attack prompted Washington to fly nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate North Korea. South Korean troops didn't fire at the North, he said.

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.

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