Suspected defector crosses into North Korea

An “unidentified person” slipped through the border between the two Koreas in an apparent escape attempt

The South Korean military has reported that a person broke through a barbed-wire fence to sneak into the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas before eventually crossing into North Korean territory.

“We launched the operation to capture the person in the DMZ [demilitarized zone],” an anonymous official from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) told Yonhap. “But due to various geographical conditions, including the mountain terrain, we failed to do so.”

The evasive individual appeared to be on course for his destination, North Korea, when he was last seen by the South Korean military around 10:40pm on Saturday.

Seoul said it informed Pyongyang about the incident through a military hotline, and has launched an investigation to determine the defector’s identity. 

While there have been numerous defections from North Korea to South Korea over the years, cases in which South Korean citizens flee to the North are extremely rare, but not unheard of. 

In 2019, the son of a former South Korean foreign minister followed in the footsteps of his parents by defecting to the North, vowing to devote his life to the cause of reunification.

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