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A South Korean scales iron fence to defect to N. Korea

Posted January. 03, 2022 07:58,   

Updated January. 03, 2022 07:58


A person who is believed to be a South Korean national scaled iron fence dividing South and North Korea to defect to North Korea across heavily guarded eastern frontline border in Gangwon Province. When the person scaled the barbed iron fence, he was caught in the scientific military security system, but the military unit in charge neither noticed the alert nor promptly take countermeasures. Critics say while the military has openly pledged to beef up readiness after frontline military units’ repeated failures in guarding through February last year, the pledges have proven to be futile all over again in the wake of the latest fiasco.

According to the military on Sunday, the 22nd Infantry Division of the South Korean Army detected an unidentified South Korean man at a site around a supply route in the left section of a guard post within the demilitarized zone through the thermal object detector around 9:20 pm on Saturday. The 22nd Division confirmed that the person was caught while scaling the iron fence in footages taken by a closed circuit TV camera around 6:40 p.m. The unit neither noticed the failure in guarding for about three hours after the man scaled the iron fence, nor did it block him from crossing the border. The man crossed the military demarcation line hundreds of meters away from the fence around 10:40 p.m. The defector’s identity has yet to be confirmed. A 40-something South Korean civil servant, who went missing around northernmost waters near Soyeonpyeong island in the Yellow Sea in September 2020, was shot to death by the North Korean military in waters controlled by the North. At the time, North Korea claimed, “The measure was taken in line with national emergency defense guidelines.”

The South Korean military sent a memo to North Korea aimed at protecting the South Korean national through the military hotline on Sunday. “There is no abnormal activity by the North Korean military in the area,” said a source in the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com