N. Korean soldier who defected used a vehicle to escape

A soldier fled North Korea today – getting shot

A soldier fled North Korea today – getting shot

The soldier crossed to the south side of the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom, the only portion of the border Demilitarised Zone where forces from the two sides come face-to-face, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) has assessed that North Korean troops fired some 40 rounds at a North Korean soldier as he sprinted across the heavily-fortified border to defect to the South on Monday.

US President Donald Trump believes North Korea's nuclear weapons are a greater threat than Russia's alleged interference in his election and wants to work with Moscow to counter that threat, an aide said Sunday.

More than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the 1950-53 war, but it's rare for soldiers to flee across the DMZ, much less the JSA.

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All channels for dialogue are now cut off between Seoul and Pyongyang after North Korea's relentless development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

The soldier was airlifted to a hospital south of Seoul after he was found bleeding under a pile of leaves Monday in the truce village of Panmunjom, the only point in the DMZ where both sides come face to face.

"He has at least six gunshot wounds on his body and the penetrating wound in the abdomen is the most serious", the doctor, Lee Cook-Jong, told reporters, AFP said.

"He crossed from a North Korea post towards our [South Korean] Freedom House", the South said in a statement.

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"We will have to ride out some crucial moments over the next 10 days", Lee said.

South Korea's military said it has strengthened its vigilance and readiness posture in case of a possible military provocation by the North. His helicopter had to turn back because of bad weather.

It's unclear what the soldier's conditions are or why he made a decision to defect to the South.

At Panmunjom, once an obscure farming village inside the 2 1/2-mile-wide DMZ that separating the rivaling countries, North Korean soldiers wearing lapel pins with the images of late North Korean leaders often use binoculars to monitor visitors from the South. In September the North carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test, of what it described as a hydrogen bomb.

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