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N. Korea opens fires at a defecting soldier

Posted November. 15, 2017 08:56,   

Updated November. 15, 2017 09:25


North Korean troops reportedly fired some 40 rounds at a defecting low-ranking solider as he crossed to the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the village of Panmunjom on Monday. South Korea’s military authority also confirmed that the country’s Air Force immediately deployed its fighter jets to fly over the unit in charge of the JSA and kept its readiness posture while the artillery’s firepower readiness was escalated to the highest level.

South Korea’s military assessed that three North Korean troops and one soldier who were on guard opened fire, shooting some 40 rounds with AK-74 rifles and pistols at the escaping soldier as he sprinted across the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) in the JSA. Their shooting did not stop until the defecting soldier crossed the MDL and made it to the South Korean side, according to the military. This is the clear violation of the armistice agreement, which prohibits soldiers on guard in the JSA from carrying or using rifles while only allowing pistols.

The North Korean soldier who defected to South Korea was shot by his old comrades when he exited a four-wheel drive vehicle as a wheel came loose and continued fleeing south across the MDL. On the same day, the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) said it had informed the North Korean military of the accident via loudspeakers on the border. Since it recorded the accident with a camcorder, North Korea has not said anything about the soldier.

The North Korean soldier was reportedly shot in five places, with one on each shoulder, two on his abdomen and one on thigh. Surgeons had removed all bullets from the soldier’s body, but since he is suffering from critical intestinal damage in seven places, doctors will decide in a few days if he requires another operation.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com · Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com