Unanswered questionsAuthorities have been strangely secretive about the shootings at the Joint Security Area (JSA) that took place on Nov. 13, as North Koreans fired at a fellow soldier desperately attempting to cross the military demarcation line (MDL) to the southern side.
What must be explained is whether North Korea violated the armistice treaty by firing some 40 shots at the fleeing solider, including one using an AK-47 rifle, a weapon banned within the JSA, and why South Korean soldiers did not fire back.
From the movie-like description, the solider swerved up in a military Jeep 10 meters (33 feet) from the southern side of the MDL. It would have taken just three seconds for him to dash right over the line into the South.
Yet the North Korean guards fired 40 shots, which is impossible within three seconds. Am AK-47 can reach a maximum effective range of about 400 meters. The shots would have easily passed the MDL. North Korean soldiers could have crossed the border in their chase after the defector. The wounded defector fell about 50 meters on the southern side, past the South Korean guard post.
A lieutenant colonel crawled to the wounded North Korean to save him. He said he would not dare to send one of his troops into the fray.
But whether the South Korean military responded adequately to the situation is a different matter. There were no traces of prompt military action being ordered after Yeonpyeong island was bombarded by the North Korean artillery back in 2010.
The United Nations Command and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) are withholding the release of the footage. They had planned to show Korean media a 26-second CCTV clip, but decided to put off the release until they can share the longer version to avoid any unnecessary misunderstanding about the incident.
A Blue House official said its JSA troops have to be in compliance with the rules of engagement set by the UNC. Government and military authorities must be clear about the incident so as not to send the wrong message to North Korea, and to prevent further North Korean military provocations.
JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 17, Page 34