South Korea It arrested a North Korean man believed to be trying to defect by crossing the heavily armed land border separating the two countries.
The man was first seen crossing a barbed wire fence shortly before 7:30 pm on Tuesday, according to South Korean media reports.
He was arrested at 9.50 am on Wednesday after being spotted by surveillance equipment at the eastern edge of the DMZ. [DMZ]A 248 km (155 mi) strip of land is littered with mines.
It was not clear whether the man was a soldier or a civilian, although reports indicated that he was not wearing a military uniform.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff in South Korea said in a statement: “An investigation will be conducted to find out details about the man, including how he fell and whether he wanted to defect.”
The Ministry of Defense declined to confirm a report by the Yonhap News Agency that the army had issued a “Jindotgae” warning to combat infiltration of the eastern border area.
The accident comes within weeks of the killing of a South Korean Fisheries Ministry official after crossing into North Korea He crossed the two countries’ maritime borders, sparking an escalation of tensions amid allegations that North Korean soldiers did They shot him deadHe poured fuel on his body and set it on fire. The South Intelligence Agency said this week that it had “circumstantial evidence” indicating that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong UnAn investigation was opened into the shooting.
Very few of the 31,000 North Koreans have it They defected to the south In the past two decades, this has been done via the demilitarized zone, which is the scene of occasional military skirmishes but also the place for cross-border talks during times of detente. Most of the defectors cross into China and reach the south via a third country, often Thailand.
In 2018, a North Korean soldier defected to South Korea via the eastern portion of the demilitarized zone, while his citizens shot another soldier as he ran across the border in Dramatic escape To the south in 2017.
South Korea has resumed tours to its side from the border village Panmunjom On Wednesday, a year after it was suspended due to an outbreak of African Swine Fever in the North and, more recently, fears of the spread of Coronavirus.
South Unification Minister Lee In Young did not mention the suspected split at a ceremony held on Wednesday to mark the resumption of the tours, but did call for freedom of travel among all Koreans within the demilitarized zone and more recently. Cut the inter-Korean hotlines To be returned.
“The re-establishment of communication channels around the clock will be the basis for restoring inter-Korean relations,” Lee said.
North Korea’s state media has not commented on Wednesday’s incident at the border, which has separated the two countries since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War. South Korea said it did not notice any unusual activity of the northern army.