Update (June 26) Sentence added for clarity of June 18 defection: “The ROK JCS later confirmed to NK News that this man was a civilian and not a North Korean soldier.”
A North Korean soldier defected across the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) – the heavily fortified border separating North and South Korea – late on Friday evening, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The crossing is the third reported border defection in quick succession, with one North Korean military personnel and one civilian having crossed the North-South dividing line separately on June 13 and June 18.
In a statement carried by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, the JCS said that the soldier had crossed at the “central forward area” of the MDL at 21:30 KST on Friday.
The JCS added, as per protocol, that it is investigating “the motives” for the defection.
“He is in our custody and our military is now investigating why and how he defected,” Yonhap quoted the JCS as saying.
The defection of a soldier on June 13 happened in the same general area of the MDL according to a statement issued by the JCS at the time.
On June 18, again citing the JCS, reports indicated that a North Korean man had crossed a narrow stretch of river west of Seoul in order to defect. The ROK JCS later confirmed to NK News that this man was a civilian and not a North Korean soldier.
The most recent case of a member of North Korea’s Korean People’s Army (KFA) defecting across the inter-Korean border – prior to June 13 – took place in September last year, when the JCS announced that a soldier had crossed over the MDL in the area of the “central eastern front.”
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Featured Image: Kaesong by Anthony Surace on 2017-05-06 12:09:02