Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

North Korean soldier shot while defecting to South Korea: Seoul

North Korean soldier shot while defecting to South Korea: Seoul

The soldier shot and injured by the North Korean side while defecting from a military post in front of Panmungak, the main building managed by North Korea in the Joint Security Area, the JCS said in a statement.

Soldiers from the North have occasionally defected to South Korea across the border.

He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, the Defence Ministry said.

A North Korean soldier (L) and a South Korean soldier stand guard at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas in Paju, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul.

It was not immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he made a decision to defect. After he was apprehended, he told officials that he had meant to go to North Korea to meet its leader, Kim Jong-un.

The number of North Koreans defecting to South Korea dropped by 13% this year.

"With the North Korea situation at an important phase, the role China ought to play is very big", Abe said. From January to August, 780 North Koreans escaped to South Korea, according to officials in Seoul.

The soldier is reported to have left his North Korean guard post in front of Panmungak, on the border inside the demilitarized zone, and proceeded to move towards Freedom House on the South Korean side.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged South Korea to resume dialogue with North Korea for reconciliation and de-nuclearisation.

The president said he will visit all ten ASEAN member states before his presidency ends, and also send special envoys to key members of the regional bloc. This makes the area a popular stop for visitors from both sides.

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