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Another North Korean soldier defects to South Korea across the DMZ; both sides exchange gunfire

North Korean soldiers (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
December 20, 2017

The South Korean military has released that a North Korean soldier has defected to South Korea via the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Following the defection both North and South Koreans fired gunshots.

Yonhap, the South Korean news agency reported that the “low ranking” soldier appeared in front of a guard post around 8:00am local time during thick fog.

The “low-ranking” soldier appeared in front of a guard post on the mid-western front at around 8:04 a.m. amid thick fog, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

After the defection, the North’s border guards approached the military demarcation line (MDL) apparently in search of the defector, a JCS official told reporters.

In response, the South’s troops fired some 20 warning shots at around 9:30 a.m., he said.

Roughly 40 minutes later, there was the sound of several gunshots from the North, but no bullets were found to have crossed the border, he added.

The soldier ran from his guard post in the DMZ where both sides face each other from across the line that divides the North from the South.

More than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South, but it’s unusual for soldiers to flee across the so-called DMZ, a 2.5-mile wide, 150-mile-long buffer zone lined with barbed wire and dotted with landmines.

The DMZ is one of the most heavily guarded pieces of land in the world due to the extreme tensions created by the volatile and aggressive North Korean government.

On November 13th, a North Korean soldier was shot by his comrades as he defected to the South in an extremely rare crossing via the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone.

Here is video of the November North Korean defector.

The November defection came less than a week after President Donald Trump traveled to South Korea to pledge solidarity with the longtime U.S. ally amid soaring tensions over the growing nuclear and missile threat from the North.

The soldier fled from his guard post in the jointly controlled area where the two sides face each other across the line that divides the peninsula, according to South Korea’s military.

Other North Korean forces opened fire, wounding the soldier as he advanced toward the South Korean side’s reception building known as the Freedom House, an official said, reading a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It’s rarer for them to leave their posts in the Joint Security Area, which is controlled on the southern side by the U.S.-led United Nations Command. South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which oversees defectors, said the last time it happened was in 2007.

The North Korean soldier, who was shot in the shoulder and elbow, was airlifted to a hospital by a United Nations Command helicopter, another military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in exchange for providing the details.