Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Korean soldier defects to S. Korea via truce line

The soldier bolted from a guard post at the northern side of Panmunjom village in the Joint Security Area to the southern side of the village, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"The government has kept the stance (over the need to support those in need in North Korea) on humanitarian grounds, but it also takes into account various factors for the provision of the aid at an appropriate time", said an official at Seoul's unification ministry.

The soldier, who was wounded in the elbow and shoulder, was taken to a South Korean hospital and treated for his injuries.

Over the decades since the peninsula was divided, dozens of North Korean soldiers have fled to the South through the DMZ, which extends for two kilometers either side of the actual borderline. The US Navy has the tools to unilaterally overwhelm any other navy, but it enjoys the support of its allies like South Korea and Japan. South Korea was keeping its "full combat readiness against North Korea's possibility provocations", its military said Monday.

The defector's rank was not immediately clear.

A Louisiana man was arrested in South Korea apparently attempting to get into North Korea.

How many North Koreans defect annually?

In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the truce village.

South Korea and the United States were also conducting joint military drills in the East Sea utilizing three USA aircraft carriers.

The drills occurred as President Donald Trump wrapped up a 12-day trip across Asia, in which the North Korean threat was at the top of his agenda.

It marks the first massive joint drills since Seoul and Washington agreed last month to enhance rotational deployments of USA strategic assets to curb North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

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