Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Louisiana man arrested trying to get into North Korea

Louisiana man arrested trying to get into North Korea

The North Korean military shot and wounded a fellow soldier who defected across the Demilitarized Zone to South Korea, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement Monday. Internal organ damage is so severe that it will take two or three days to find out whether he can survive an operation.

In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the truce village.

Oceans Minister Kim Young-choon on Tuesday interpreted North Korea's recent repatriation of a seized South Korean fishing boat as a "conciliatory gesture", as Seoul seeks to improve cross-border ties.

According to South Korea's Ministry of Defense, a 58-year-old man from Louisiana entered a controlled area in Yeoncheon County, on the border with North Korea, early Monday morning.

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

According to the South Korean military there was no exchange of fire across the border, and the UNC statement stressed that no South Korean or United States forces were harmed.

The U.N. military armistice commission said it had informed the North Korean military that the soldier, who was found about 50 meters (150 feet) south of a Military Demarcation Line, was undergoing surgery for his wounds.

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.

The soldier's successful escape makes only the fourth defection by a North Korean soldier through the DMZ in the last three years, the BBC reported.

The U.N. Command, in place since the end of the war, said an investigation into the incident was being conducted.

Relations on the peninsula have been tense for months as the North has stepped up its missile tests.

The defection came at a time of heightened tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, and as President Trump wraps up a 12-day visit to Asia. The attack prompted Washington to fly nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate North Korea.

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