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South Korea: North Korea Wounds Soldier as He Defects

14 November 2017

A South Korean military spokesman said: "A North Korean soldier defected from a guard post on the North Korea side of the Joint Security Area (JSA) toward our side and our military took him".

"Since it was an area exposed to the North, we had to crawl toward there to get him out".

A doctor treating the soldier - who was airlifted to a hospital for emergency surgery - said he had been shot half-a-dozen times and sustained a serious stomach injury.

South Korean troops found the injured soldier south of the border after hearing sounds of gunfire, a Defence Ministry official said.

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

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This is the fourth defection by a North Korean soldier via the DMZ - one of the world's most heavily guarded strips of land - in the last three years. 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.

Surgeons had removed five bullets from the soldier's body, leaving two inside, Suh added, to murmurs from lawmakers who said the soldier's escape was "right out of a movie".

About 1,000 North Koreans defect to South Korea each year.

South Korean officials have yet to identify where the soldier came from or what his intentions were. The U.N. Command said Tuesday that an investigation into the incident was underway.

Trump is at the end of his 12-day tour to Asia where he's meeting with leaders and addressing the denuclearization of North Korea.

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

The Joint Security Area was the site of some bloodshed during the Cold War but there hasn't been major violence there in recent years.

The North's official media hasn't reported about the case, but it previously accused of Seoul of kidnapping or enticing its citizens to defect. The attack prompted Washington to fly nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate North Korea.

Suh said the South had also informed the North on Monday of the soldier and his treatment, via loudspeakers on the border.

The Associated Press contribute to this report.

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South Korea: North Korea Wounds Soldier as He Defects