N. Korean soldier defects to S. Korea via heavily armed border

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N. Korean soldier defects to S. Korea via heavily armed border

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea on Saturday via the heavily armed land border between the two sides, claiming he crossed the border after shooting two superiors while on guard duty, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The solider crossed the western section of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas at 12:06 p.m. before arriving at a South Korean guard post four minutes later, the JCS said in a statement.

South Korean border guards heard gunshots along the border at the time, and then confirmed the North Korean soldier's desire to defect to the South before escorting him safely into custody, the JCS said.

The defector told South Korean authorities that he crossed the border after shooting his platoon and squad chiefs to death while on guard duty, the JCS said, adding that he is under questioning by a joint team of related agencies.

South Korea's military has strengthened vigilance in the area, but the North's military has not shown any signs of unusual movement, the JCS said.

Defection via the DMZ is rare as the border is tightly sealed and heavily armed. South and North Korea are still technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. (Yonhap)

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