North Korea Soldier Defects to South Korea Despite Being Shot

  • First reported defection by North Korean soldier since June
  • Defector taken to hospital immediately after crossing border

South Korean soldiers guard a post near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Paju.

Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

A North Korean soldier defected across a sensitive area of the border dividing the Korean Peninsula despite being shot by his fellow troops, South Korea’s military said Monday.

"South Korea received a North Korean soldier who defected from a North Korean guard post” near the Joint Security Area, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message. The soldier was taken directly to hospital.

The Joint Security Area is the only part of the demilitarized zone where forces from both countries stand face-to-face. The last reported defection by a North Korean soldier was in late June. A Defense Ministry official didn’t immediately know the last time a North Korean soldier was shot while defecting.

While defection by a North Korean soldier or civilian isn’t rare, it’s difficult to cross the border by land in the JSA area as it is heavily guarded.

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