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[Joint Chiefs of Staff] North Korean Soldier Defects To Republic of Korea via Panmunjeom

On November 13th, a North Korean soldier defected to Republic of Korea through Panmunjeom. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) has reported that on the afternoon of the 13th, a North Korean soldier crossed from a North Korean guard post on the northern side of the Joint Security Area (JSA) and ran toward the House of Freedom on the Republic of Korean side, where he was picked up by Republic of Korean soldiers.  

On his way, he was shot by North Korean soldiers, and was rushed to hospital immediately upon reaching Republic of Korea. According to the JCS, at around 3:31 p.m. on that day, several minutes after shots were fired, a North Korean soldier with gunshot wounds was found at the western side of the Freedom House on the Republic of Korean side about 50 meters south of the Military Demarcation Line, and he was picked up at around 3:56 p.m. by Republic of Korean soldiers.

“The defector was found in a military uniform and unarmed, with gunshot wounds to his shoulder and elbow. When he was noticed, some of our soldiers approached him carefully. On finding he was unarmed and wounded, the defector was transferred to a rear post. Afterwards, the defector left in a United Nations Command helicopter and was taken to hospital,” added the JCS. 

“Our military has tightened military alert considering the possibility of provocation by North Korean soldiers, and has been keeping a sharp lookout," said the JCS.

The last time a North Korean military officer defected to the South via Panmumjeom was in April 2008. In February 1998, senior lieutenant Byeon, Yong-gwan, a guard officer at the Panmuljeom on the North Korean side, crossed the south side of the JSA. 

In November 1984, Soviet student Matusak defected to Republic of Korea via Panmunjeom. Pursuing him, North Korean soldiers crossed over the Military Demarcation Line and reached the pond in front of the House of Freedom of the southern side (now the garden). In the firefight that ensued, a Republic of Korean soldier was killed, an American soldier was wounded, and three North Korean soldiers were killed and five were wounded. On June 14, 1974, state political security department agent Gong, Tak-ho defected to the South via Panmunjeom to engage in spying.


In 1967, vice president of Korean Central News Agency of North Korea Lee Su-geun suddenly defected to the South in Panmunjeom. At that time, the 242nd military administration committee was held in Panmunjeom, and he was a reporter. Lee Su-geun was eventually executed in 1969 after being charged as a double agent.

By Yeong-Sun, Lee < >

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