Defector says he swam across Yellow Sea NLL

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Defector says he swam across Yellow Sea NLL

A North Korean yesterday defected to the South by apparently swimming across the heavily-guarded maritime border in the middle of joint Korea-U.S. military drills in the area.

According to South Korean military sources, a 46-year-old North Korean man identified only as “H” arrived on Gyodong Island, Ganghwa County, Incheon City, early yesterday morning. A South Korean resident of the island reported the defector to police at around 3:40 a.m.

The defector told police that he swam across the Northern Limit Line, the de facto border, and onto the beach of Gyodong Island.

He spotted a house with lights near the beach and knocked on its door, waking up the owner. The North Korean introduced himself as “a man from the North.”

Police, spy agency officials, and other authorities in South Korea are questioning the North Korean why he defected and what route he took.

Sources said Gyodong Island has no barbed-wire fencing on its beach because the island is mainly a fishing area. There are no guard posts on the island.

In September, a North Korean man arrived in Southern territory by floating across the border while clinging to a log.

BY CHANG SE-JEONG AND KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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