North Korea reportedly replaced its border guards after a soldier's dramatic defection

USFKNorth Korean troops near the South Korean border respond to a defecting soldier.
  • Following a North Korean soldier’s defection to South Korea, the North has reportedly replaced all of its border-security guards.
  • North Koreans were also spotted planted trees and digging a trench where the defector made his escape.

Following the dramatic defection of a soldier last week, North Korea has replaced all its border-security guards, Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday, citing an intelligence source.

“Signs were detected that North Korea has replaced all border-security officials following the defection,” the intelligence source said. “Given this situation, commanders of the responsible military unit and senior officers might have undergone punishment.”

North Korea frequently punishes those who draw ire from its leaders, particularly Kim Jong Un, and is rumoured to hand down strict sentences or use over-the-top methods to execute them.

The intelligence source said it appeared that North Korea had temporarily closed the bridge the defector used to make his escape.

North Korean forces were also seen planting two trees and digging a trench at the path the defector used, according to a top US diplomat in South Korea.

On November 13, the defecting soldier – identified by his family name, Oh, and believed to be 24 – started driving quickly toward the Military Demarcation Line, the line dividing North and South Korea. The vehicle’s wheel reportedly came loose, and the defector ran on foot after running into an obstruction.

Footage from cameras shows several frantic North Korean soldiers firing their weapons at the defector, who was shot at least five times and eventually rescued by South Korean forces. South Korean doctors have said his condition is stable and that he is making a steady recovery.

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