Date
19 September 2017
A South Korean checkpoint in the heavily guarded DMZ, viewed from the North Korean side. Credit: Wikipedia
A South Korean checkpoint in the heavily guarded DMZ, viewed from the North Korean side. Credit: Wikipedia

N Korean soldier crosses DMZ to defect to South

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea on Thursday by making a rare crossing of the heavily guarded demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the border.

The soldier walked across at an eastern part of the DMZ at around 10 am local time, Reuters reports, citing South Korean military officials.

The soldier was unarmed and there was no exchange of fire.

He is now being questioned over how and why he made the crossing, South Korea’s Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff was quoted as saying in a statement.

The DMZ is heavily mined and lined with barbed wire and soldiers on both sides. Defections across it are rare.

The last such crossing was in June 2015.

The defection came as tension has been high on the Korean peninsula since the North conducted nuclear and missile tests this year in defiance of international sanctions.

Separately, there was a report that a North Korean teenager who took part in a Hong Kong maths contest in July and later sought asylum at the South Korean consulate there had arrived in South Korea.

South Korea declined to confirm or comment on the report, Reuters said.

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CG/RC

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