North Korean Soldier Is Shot While Defecting Across DMZ, South Says

North Korean Soldier Is Shot While Defecting Across DMZ, South Says

Monday's incident was the first shooting at the Joint Security Area since North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire when a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the JSA in 1984.

He was shot by a North Korean soldier but succeeded in crossing, the JCS added, and has been evacuated for medical treatment.

The military armistice commission of the United Nations said it had informed the North Korean military that the soldier, who was found on the south side of the border village of Panmunjom about 50 metres (150 feet) south of the Military Demarcation Line, had been undergoing surgeries for his gunshot wounds.

About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the Korean War, but most travel through China.

Song would be the first ministerial-level Chinese official to visit North Korea since October 2015 when Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan visited Pyongyang and met with Kim.

It marks the first massive joint drills since Seoul and Washington agreed last month to enhance rotational deployments of US strategic assets to curb North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

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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. In Monday's incident, it wasn't known if the North continued firing after the defector was officially in the southern part of the Joint Security Area.

North Korea's military is preparing for winter drills, prompting South Korea to ensure its forces are combat-ready in case of any hostilities. The South Korean military said he was unarmed and was wearing a combat uniform for a low ranking soldier. It is located inside the 4-kilometer-wide (2 1/2-mile-wide) Demilitarized Zone, which forms the de facto border between the Koreas since the Korean War.

Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, was photographed by North Korean soldiers while he stood inside one of the huts during a visit to the DMZ in March.

Ja accused the U.N. Security Council in Monday's letter of repeatedly "turning a blind eye to the nuclear war exercises of the United States, who is hell bent on bringing a catastrophic disaster to humanity".

The defection came at a time of heightened tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, and could escalate animosities between the rival countries.

Areas around Panmunjom were the site of bloodshed and defection attempts by North Koreans in the past, but there have been no such incidents in recent years.

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