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Disclosing footage of a N. Korean solder’s defection postponed

Disclosing footage of a N. Korean solder’s defection postponed

Posted November. 18, 2017 07:41,   

Updated November. 18, 2017 09:04


All the attention is on what is impeding the United Nations Command (UNC)’s decision to make public footage of a North Korean soldier defecting through a Joint Security Area or the truce village of Panmunjom. The footage is clear physical evidence of whether North Korean soldiers violated the armistice agreement and the South Korean military responded appropriately.

The UNC announced Thursday it would make public a 26-second-footage, later said it would delay the release to the following day, and again has put off the plan for an indefinite period. The UNC said it would need to have internal consultations, citing that the South Korean military authorities have suggested the UNC provide a longer clip to help investigate the situation accurately. It added Gen. Vincent Brooks, U.S. Forces Korea commander, is visiting Japan, thus delaying its approval procedure.

However, the reversal prompted observations that there may be some inside stories. It is said that the UNC is deeply concerned about the potential backlash triggered by the footage release. Most of all, there may be a growing sentiment in South Korea that the JSA engagement rules set by the UNC should be revised.

The graphic image reportedly shows the North’s soldiers chasing and shooting after the escaping soldier, crossing the Military Demarcation Line or MDL. If disclosed, it could ignite a controversy over South Korean guards at JSA not responding appropriately due to the flawed rules of engagement. The UNC has the operational control authority of the JSA guards, including use of military force.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com