Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Shot North Korean defector suffered massive internal injuries - surgeon

Shot North Korean defector suffered massive internal injuries - surgeon

A North Korean soldier fled to South Korea through a hail of bullets in the Joint Security Area on Monday afternoon.

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.

He suffered a gunshot wound and is now recovering in a South Korean hospital, the military said.

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.

"Our military maintains full readiness while strengthening the alert in preparation for the possibility of provocations by the North Korean army", the JCS said.

North Korean government officials told CNN's Will Ripley in Pyongyang last week that the USA was increasingly taking action that could "ignite another Korean War".

President Xi's special envoy, Song Tao, will visit North Korea to inform its leadership about the outcome of the recent national congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), state-run Xinhua news agency said, without mentioning Trump's visit or the North Korea's nuclear programmes.

The four-day joint naval exercises by the USA and South Korea, which began Saturday in waters off the South's eastern coast, were described by military officials as a clear warning to North Korea. He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, the South's Defense Ministry said. It is located inside the 4-kilometer-wide (2 1/2-mile-wide) Demilitarized Zone, which forms the de facto border between the Koreas since the Korean War.

It's unclear what the soldier's conditions are or why he made a decision to defect to the South. Jointly controlled by the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea, the DMZ is guarded on both sides by hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops, razor-wire fences and tank traps. A U.N. Command helicopter later transported him to the Ajou medical center, according to South Korean officials.

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.

North Korea has typically accused South Korea of enticing its citizens to defect, something the South denies.

The announcement about the Chinese envoy's visit came after Trump during talks with Xi last week urged him to to do more to use China's influence to pressure North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to give up nuclear weapons programme.

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