N Korean soldier crosses border to defect to South
June 15, Seol: A teenage North Korean soldier defected to the South by crossing the heavily guarded border between the two Koreas, South Korean defence ministry officials said.
The soldier approached a remote South Korean guard post in Gangwon province’s Hwacheon county, in the central area of the peninsula, at about 8am local time on Monday, a defence ministry official said. The soldier was being held in custody while officials ran checks.
While there are more than 1,000 defections from North Korea to South Korea every year, most defectors come via China and it is rare for a North Korean to crossing the heavily mined Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). The last such crossing was in 2012.
Monday’s defection sparked a tense standoff between North and South Korean border guards across the 4km-wide and 248km-long DMZ, but there was no conflict, the Yonhap news agency reported.
The DMZ is marked by barbed wire and guarded by tens of thousands of troops on both sides.
Most North Koreans who flee repression and poverty at home cross the porous frontier with China first before travelling through a Southeast Asian nation and eventually arriving in South Korea.
The Oslo Times and Agencies