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Korean soldier defects to South, suffers gunshot wounds from North

Korean soldier defects to South, suffers gunshot wounds from North”

A North Korean soldier was shot and injured by his own side Monday (Nov 13) while defecting to South Korea at the truce village of Panmunjom, the South's military said.

"He then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south across the line as he was sacked upon by other soldiers from North Korea", it said in a statement. The North has expressed intense anger over past high-profile defections. Details of his condition were not immediately available. After being shot, he took cover near a building on the southern side of the JSA before South Korean and American troops came to his aid. But the Ajou University Medical Center near Seoul said the soldier was relying on a breathing machine after the surgery removed the bullets. He was unconscious and in critical condition on Tuesday, the surgeon in charge of the soldier's treatment, Lee Cook-jong, told reporters.

The unidentified 58-year-old man, identified only as "A", traveled to South Korea in recent days and crossed the DMZ to try to enter North Korea for "political purposes", according to the Yonhap News Agency, South Korea's news service.

Another gun battle was recorded in 1967 when a senior journalist from the North's state-run KCNA news agency crossed the border while covering military talks underway in Panmunjom. Nearly 20 minutes later, a southern soldier was able to crawl to the site and drag him to safety.

North Korea is under heavy global pressure to end its weapons programmes, pursued in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The North's official media haven't reported the case as of Tuesday afternoon.

North Korea and South Korea have been in a technical war since the conflict of 1950-53 ended with an armistice.

The JSA is jointly overseen by the American-led U.N. Command and by North Korea, with South Korean and North Korean border guards facing each other only meters (feet) apart.

The demilitarized zone between the two countries splits the Korean Peninsula from east to west, and is fortified with landmines, fences and guard posts.

A North Korean soldier was shot by his fellow troops as he was defecting to the south across the demilitarised zone but still managed to successfully cross the border.

It's the third time this year that a North Korean soldier defected. The incident left three North Korean soldiers and one South Korean soldier dead.



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