A North Korean who defected on the closely guarded Demilitarised Zone was shot at the least 5 occasions and is in a important situation, South Korea says.
The soldier crossed to the South Korean aspect of the Joint Security Area (JSA) within the village of Panmunjom on Monday.
He had pushed close to the JSA, however needed to end his journey by foot when a wheel got here free, the South mentioned.
North Korean troops shot at him 40 occasions – however he made it throughout and was discovered beneath a pile of leaves, it added.
About 1,000 folks from the North flee to the South every year – however only a few defect through the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which is likely one of the world’s most closely guarded strips of land.
It is much more uncommon for North Koreans to cross on the JSA, which is a vacationer attraction, and the one portion of the DMZ the place each forces stand face-to-face.
North and South Korea are technically nonetheless at struggle, because the battle between them led to 1953 with a truce and never a proper peace treaty.
Five bullets extracted
South Korea’s army gave extra particulars of the soldier’s situation on Tuesday.
“Until this morning, we heard he had no consciousness and was unable to breathe on his own – but his life can be saved,” army official Suh Uk advised lawmakers.
Doctors had extracted 5 bullets from his physique, however suspected there have been two extra inside, he added.
The soldier had been noticed driving in the direction of the JSA on Monday afternoon – however a wheel got here off, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff mentioned.
“He then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south across the line as he was fired upon by other soldiers from North Korea,” the US-led United Nations Command mentioned.
The defector took cowl behind a constructing on the South Korea aspect – troops later discovered him collapsed beneath a pile of leaves, and crawled to the spot to get well him, the army added.
South Korea’s defence minister Song Young-moo advised lawmakers that it was the primary time North Korean troopers had shot into the South’s aspect of the JSA.
Some MPs questioned whether or not this meant North Korea had violated the phrases of the armistice settlement between the 2 sides, Yonhap information company reported.
Seoul says greater than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South because the finish of the Korean War in 1953.
The majority of the defectors flee through China, which has the longest border with North Korea and is simpler to cross than the closely protected DMZ.
China although regards the defectors as unlawful migrants relatively than refugees and sometimes forcibly repatriates them.
On Tuesday, the BBC’s Korean service spoke to 1 man whose spouse and four-year-old son are at the moment in detention in China, and are more likely to be repatriated to the North.
Addressing Chinese President Xi Jinping, the person, who requested to be recognized solely as Mr Lee, urged the Chinese chief to “please keep them alive and send them to South Korea”.
He mentioned his spouse and son would both face execution or be put in a political jail camp if despatched again to the North.
“My wife told me that the location of their safe house was revealed. After waiting an hour I called her again and she said she was arrested and cuffed. Then she hung up.”
“I realise I’m useless as there’s nothing I can do… I’m deeply regretful – I will live under guilt until we meet again,” he added.
Separately, a US man was arrested after he tried to enter North Korea on Monday, Yonhap reported.
The 58-year-old crossed the Civilian Control Line, which marks an additional buffer zone beneath the DMZ, for political functions, the information company mentioned.
He is at the moment being investigated by police.