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North Korea Violates Armistice Agreement by Crossing MDL at JSA

Released by UN Command's special investigation team: CCTV videos showing situation at the time

Firing and invading over MDL: North Korea's two violations of the Armistice Agreement

JSA security battalion personnel reacted appropriately, according to rules and procedures 

 North Korea Violates Armistice Agreement by Cross

[UN Command spokesperson Chad Carroll releases CCTV videos showing the North Korean soldier's defection to Republic of Korea via the JSA (top). The defector abandons a jeep that had fallen into a drain and runs toward the south (middle). A North Korean soldier chasing after the defector crosses the MDL (bottom). The North Korean soldier, belatedly realizing that he had crossed the MDL, seems to be surprised and returns to the North.

By Jo, Jong-won (source: UN Command)]

It was confirmed that North Korean soldiers clearly violated the Armistice Agreement during a North Korean soldier's defection to Republic of Korea on November 13. It was also found that the United Nations Command (UNC)'s Joint Security Area (JSA) security battalion personnel reacted appropriately according to rules and procedures, even in this urgent situation. 

U.S. Army Col. Chad Carroll, spokesperson for UNC, released related CCTV videos and the findings of the UNC's special investigation team at the Ministry of National Defense on November 22nd.  

The video shows that four North Korean soldiers in pursuit of the defector escaping toward the South began shooting at him from behind just meters away from the north of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL). In addition, of the North Korean soldiers, one chasing after the defector crossed the MDL and returned to the North Korean side in a hurry. Spokesperson Carroll said with respect to this, “The key findings of the UNC's special investigation team are that North Korea violated the Armistice Agreement, first when North Korean soldiers fired across the MDL, and second when North Korean soldiers actually crossed the MDL temporarily." Carroll also stated "A UNC official notified us of North Korean soldiers' violations earlier in the day through communication channels in the Panmunjeom," he added "We also were notified of the findings of the UNC's investigation and requested a meeting to discuss how to prevent future violations." 

Spokesperson Carroll also said that the JSA Security Battalion's actions on the ground were highly appreciated by the special investigation team. “The actions taken by the members of the JSA Security Battalion were self-disciplined and wise, particularly considering that this urgent situation on the ground was not nearly as clear as it is to us now, watching the video,” he stressed. “The UNC supports the strategic decision made by the JSA Security Battalion's Republic of Korean commander, who handled an unclear and imprecise incident in the JSA which ended without escalating into a conflict.”  

"After thoroughly reviewing the investigation results, I assess that the actions taken by the UNC Security Battalion were consistent with the Armistice Agreement, namely to respect the Demilitarized Zone and to take actions that deter a resumption of hostilities," Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the UNC commander also said through a press release. "The Armistice Agreement was challenged but it remains in place."

Meanwhile, the UNC also released the video from a thermal observation device (TOD) on that day. The TOD video shows that a deputy commander of Republic of Korea's JSA Security Battalion forces led two noncommissioned officers on the ground in the middle of rescuing the defector, so the related controversy seems to be settled.

By Yeong-Sun, Lee < >

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