SEOUL – A North Korean soldier crossed the inter-Korean border and said he wanted to defect to the neighboring country, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff reported on Thursday.
Around 11:38 pm local time Wednesday, South Korean thermal observation devices detected a man moving along the Imjin River after crossing the military demarcation line in the central Demilitarized Zone.
After confirming it was a person, the South Korean military detained the man according to protocol and without incident, JCS said, according to Yonhap news agency.
“The man is an active-duty soldier, and he expressed his desire to defect to the South. Related procedures are underway,” a JCS officer said.
The last such event occurred in December 2018, when a North Korean soldier fled to the South, crossing the inter-Korean border in the east.
According to government data, defections from North Korea to South Korea increased by 12 percent in the first half of 2019.