North Korean soldier defects to the South at Joint Security Area: JCS

A soldier fled North Korea today – getting shot

The soldier crossed to the south side of the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom, the only portion of the border Demilitarised Zone where forces from the two sides come face-to-face, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. She believes they were ready after Trump's surprise election to discuss a new round of official talks with the U.S.to defuse the standoff over their nuclear weapons - but that Trump's escalating rhetoric and Twitter rants such as his weekend taunting of North Korea's "short and fat" Kim Jong Un may have foreclosed that option.

The fact that the defector drove to the frontier suggests he may not have been a member of the elite corps of North Korean troops posted to Panmunjom, who are carefully vetted and selected for their loyalty.

The soldier was airlifted to a hospital south of Seoul after he was found bleeding under a pile of leaves Monday in the truce village of Panmunjom, the only point in the DMZ where both sides come face to face. But it's rare for a North Korean soldier to defect via the Joint Security Area, where border guards of the rival Koreas stand facing each other just meters (feet) away, and be shot by fellow North Korean soldiers.

All channels for dialogue are now cut off between Seoul and Pyongyang after North Korea's relentless development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

"We will have to ride out some crucial moments over the next 10 days", Lee said.

It wasn't immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he chose to defect.

South Korea's military has strengthened vigilance in the wake of the incident and remains prepared for any situation, the JCS said.

The 1953 armistice that ended the fighting but left the countries technically at war was signed in one of the blue buildings that straddle the Military Demarcation Line.

Four North Korean soldiers chased after him, firing at least 40 rounds, including some with an AK-47 assault rifle, officials said Tuesday after reviewing security camera footage from the border. South Korean troops didn't fire at the North, he said. The attack prompted Washington to fly nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate North Korea.

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