Dramatic video showing a North Korean soldier fleeing across the border into South Korea while being shot at by his former comrades was released by the United Nations Command on Wednesday.
About 1,000 people from the North flee to the South each year – but very few defect via the DMZ, where the event took place earlier this month.
According to a statement from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the soldier made it across by passing through the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjom, which is the only portion of the Demilitarised Zone where both forces stand face-to-face.
“He crossed from a North Korea post towards our Freedom House [a building on the South Korean side of the border],” the statement said. He was hit in the arm and shoulder by gunfire, it added.
This is the fourth defection by a North Korean soldier via the DMZ – one of the world’s most heavily guarded strips of land – in the last three years.
North and South Korea are technically still at war, since the conflict between them ended in 1953 with a truce and not a formal peace treaty.