A video released on November 22, 2017 by the United Nations Command shows some North Korean soldiers on their side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) after the defection of a comrade
A North Korean military officer crossed south on Thursday through the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that divides the peninsula, the South Korean government announced, a month after the spectacular desertion of another soldier, under the fire of the North Korean army.
The South Korean soldiers spotted this military man, „not very high-ranking“, this Thursday using surveillance equipment just as he crossed, in the middle of a thick fog, the DMZ from the center-west, reaching a position of surveillance, said a spokesman for the South Korean Ministry of Defense.
At that time, no shots were fired, he said, although about 90 minutes later North Korean troops fired about twenty warning shots to deter North Korean soldiers approaching the border, apparently searching for the fugitive soldier.
Later, two bursts of gunfire were heard in the north, the spokesman said, although there were no signs of bullets on the border line.
This desertion occurred one month after the one carried out on November 13 by another North Korean military officer near the border town of Panmumjom, according to images released at the end of November and captured by surveillance cameras.
In the images, he was seen racing at full speed before stopping near the center-west part of the DMZ, leaving the vehicle and running south under the fire of the North Korean soldiers who were chasing him.
He managed to get to a guard post, where he was helped by South Korean soldiers. He was wounded, at least, by four bullets.
– Minefields –
This defector, Oh Chong-Song, 24, has been hospitalized since then in South Korea. He underwent several operations to treat his gunshot wounds at a university hospital in Seoul and was then transferred to a military hospital, according to the Yonhap agency.
He recovers and can now stand up, according to the South Korean agency. In addition, he wrote a thank-you letter to the medical team that attended him.
The ex-military man wants to be a lawyer, said his surgeon, Lee Cook-Jong. „He explained that, in the North, he could not study much because of his military status,“ Lee said. „I just hope he becomes a good citizen, whatever the job he chooses,“ he wished.
In the vicinity of the border village of Panmunjom, the DMZ, 4 kilometers long, is full of barbed wire and minefields, so crossing it is extremely dangerous.
The defection this Thursday is the fourth of a North Korean military by the DMZ this year.
On the other hand, two North Korean civilians went south this week. They were found in an improvised boat, without a motor, drifting off the east coast of South Korea, according to Yonhap, who cited the Unification Ministry.
Since the beginning of the year, 15 North Koreans have defected directly to the South, according to a count by the South Korean General Staff. A figure three times higher than in 2016.
Some 30,000 people fled North Korea to reach the South since the end of the war (1950-1953), of which 1,418 did so in 2016, according to the Unification Ministry.