A North Korean crossed the maritime border between the two Koreas and defected to South Korea early on Friday morning, the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
The South Korean military rescued one North Korean citizen – “who defected to the South via the sea” – at Gyodong Island on the frontline between the two Koreas at 0100 KST.
Gyodong Island is located in Ganghwa-gun district, Incheon Metropolitan City which faces the DPRK’s South Hwanghae Province.
The JCS, however, didn’t specify whether he swam across or used a boat.
“Our military located the detector and are in the process of investigating the motive and process of the defection and so on,” the JCS said in a written statement.
Multiple South Korean media outlets, including Yonhap News Agency, reported that the defector was a man in his 20s.
A sentry of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Marine Corps on guard duty reportedly spotting the man using a Thermal Observation Device (TOD) and guided him to safety.
Location of Gyodong Island
There have been multiple high-profile escapes from the North across the North-South border in recent months, with today’s defection coming after five North Koreans crossed into the South across the heavily guarded maritime border via boat on July 1.
South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) said the group had planned their escape in advance.
The four men and one woman were spotted in the sea northeast of Gangneung city, Gangwon Province near the inter-Korean border.
In early June, the unification ministry said that authorities had rescued four North Korean sailors on June 2 and 3 off the east coast.
The government said that two of the sailors, a father in his 50s and son in his 20s, had expressed their desire to defect to the South immediately after their rescue, and that the other two sailors had returned to the North on June 9.
On June 18, a North Korean man crossed a narrow stretch of river west of Seoul and defected to the South through the estuary area of the Han River in north Gimpo Peninsula at 0230 KST.
Featured Image: Republic of Korea Armed Forces’ Flickr
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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