Korean soldier defects to South, suffers gunshot wounds from North

(2nd LD) N. Korean soldier defects to South, suffers gunshot wounds from North

(2nd LD) N. Korean soldier defects to South, suffers gunshot wounds from North

A North Korean soldier was shot and injured by his own side Monday while defecting to South Korea at the border truce village of Panmunjom, the South's military said.

"I've never seen such injuries outside of a textbook in more than 20 years of my career", Lee Cook-jong, the surgeon in charge of the soldier, said at a media briefing.

A local police agency, which took custody of the man from the military, said Wednesday it will send him to the immigration office for deportation.

The official said the South's soldiers heard a gunshot and then retrieved the unarmed and bleeding soldier in the mid-afternoon. In 1998, a North Korean solider fled to South Korea via Panmunjom.

Seoul also expressed reservations about Japan taking part in joint exercises conducted by the U.S., South Korea and Australia off the island of Jeju on November 6 and 7.

President Donald Trump is now concluding his tour of Asia, which involved multiple discussions with regional leaders including Japenese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte regarding how to address the North Korean threat. Jointly controlled by the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea, the DMZ is guarded on both sides by hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops, razor-wire fences and tank traps.

(2nd LD) N. Korean soldier defects to South, suffers gunshot wounds from North

About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, but most travel through China.

He defected from a North Korean guard post nearby and was being treated in hospital. US and South Korean forces guarding their side did not return fire. 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.

"Currently, there are no unusual signs in the North Korean military, but we are increasing alertness against the possibility of North Korean provocations", officials said.

The senior diplomat added the United States was providing Seoul with sufficient information on the matter and that Trump's speech indicated Washington's acknowledgement of progress in dealing with North Korea issues.

The incident occurred at the Joint Security Area, the only portion of the demilitarised zone where troops from the two countries, who have technically been at war for nearly 70 years, stand face-to-face.

Yun's visit closely follows US President Donald Trump's state visit here last week, where he addressed North Korea's nuclear ambitions and its threats to regional security.

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