The American-led United Nations Command has released the much-anticipated footage of the defection of a Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldier.
The soldier made his move around 3 p.m. local time on November 13.
The footage shows how the soldier drove at high speed to the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjom, crashed his vehicle, sprinted across the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) underfire, and was rescued by South Korean Army personnel after being shot at least four or five times.
The footage also shows the exact moment a KPA soldier violated the six-decade old armistice agreement that has temporarily halted open hostilities between the North and the South.
See the important moments here:
The video begins with the KPA soldier driving a vehicle at a high rate of speed towards a bridge.
The vehicle passes a KPA checkpoint and drives over the bridge.
The vehicle passes the Kim Il Sung signature monument, which is where North Korean tours of the JSA begin.
The KPA soldier then turns and drives toward the MDL, presumably to drive across it and into South Korea.
The soldier unexpectedly hits an obstruction while underneath some trees (headlight slightly visible near the center), just feet away from the MDL.
As the vehicle runs into the obstruction, KPA guards start running towards the defector to try and stop him from crossing the MDL. The shot on the right is near the Kim Il Sung signature memorial, where the defector just drove through.
Realising the vehicle cannot go any further, the defector makes a break for it and sprints towards the MDL.
Almost immediately after the defector gets out, four KPA soldiers (one is in a prone position underneath the second man from the right) begin shooting at him.
The soldier in the prone position is armed with an AK-47 rifle, while the other three soldiers are armed with pistols.
A side-by-side shot showing the defector on the South Korean side of the MDL, while KPA soldiers get into position to shoot at him
After the defector crosses the MDL, a KPA soldier momentarily gives chase and crosses the MDL before turning around. By crossing the MDL, the North Korean soldier likely violated the armistice agreement signed in 1953.
Three minutes after the defection, fourteen KPA soldiers, part of a reaction force, gather at the Kim Il Sung signature memorial
The defector, now wounded after being shot at least four times, lies against a retaining wall on the South Korean side of the MDL, still partially in view of the North Korean guards.
A thermal camera captures the heat signatures of the defector (circled) being retrieved by two South Korean non-commissioned officers (arrows). The officers, worried about possible sniper fire, had to crawl over to him, and drag him to safety.
The defector was medevaced by American forces to a hospital in South Korea, where he was operated on.
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