SEOUL – South Korea fired on Thursday warning shots towards North Korea as Pyongyang’s forces were trying to locate a soldier who crossed the border and defected to the South, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense in Seoul confirmed to EFE.
The South Korean military first issued a warning through its loudspeakers when it saw a group of North Korean border guards approaching the Military Demarcation Line, the effective border line between the two countries.
As North Korea apparently ignored the warning, several shots were fired, the spokesperson said, adding that North Korea’s border patrol then decided to back down.
Shortly afterwards, around 10:15 am local time (0115 GMT), the South Korean troops heard several warning shots coming from the North.
The North Korean soldier appeared in front of a South Korean border guard post around 8:04 am South Korea time (2304 GMT Wednesday) after having crossed the western side of the border.
This is the fourth North Korean soldier to defect to the South this year.
The soldier was the first one since the dramatic defection of a trooper who was shot five times by the North Korean army in mid-November during his escape through the Joint Security Area, the only border area where soldiers of the two countries are stationed face to face.
The latest defection of a North Korean solider, along with the previous one on Nov. 13, triggered tensions along the border line of the two countries, which are still technically at war, since the Korean War 1950-1953 ended with a truce instead of a peace treaty.