The United Nations Command released a video showing a North Korean defector brazenly crossing the border into South Korea as North Korean soldiers fire their weapons at him.
Around 3 p.m. local time on November 13, the defector sped toward a bridge in a Jeep as soldiers pursued him on foot.
He tried to drive past the Military Demarcation Line, the line dividing North and South Korea – but he ran into an obstruction and could go no farther.
As North Korean soldiers from the adjacent guard tower ran toward the vehicle, the defector quickly got out and ran south across the MDL. In the video, several North Korean soldiers can be seen firing their weapons at the defector, who appears to be only a few feet away.
One North Korean soldier appeared to cross the MDL for a few seconds, then run back toward it. The UNC said it found that North Korea had breached the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War.
The Korean People’s Army “violated the armistice agreement by one, firing weapons across the MDL, and two, by actually crossing the MDL,” a spokesman said during a news conference Tuesday.
In the video, as US-South Korean forces are alerted about the incident, North Korean troops can be seen mobilizing from Panmungak, one of the main North Korean buildings near the Demilitarized Zone.
The defector is seen resting on a wall in a pile of leaves. South Korea has said North Korean forces fired 40 rounds, and doctors said the defector was shot at least five times.
Heat signatures from cameras show two Joint Security Area soldiers crawling toward the defector. They then drag him out – US forces then airlifted him to the Ajou University Medical Center.
No South Korean or US forces were harmed during the incident, according to United States Forces Korea.
During multiple surgical procedures, doctors found dozens of parasites in the defector’s digestive tract, which they say sheds light on a humanitarian crisis in North Korea. He is reportedly in stable condition.
Sources told the South Korean newspaper The Dong-a Ilbo that as he received medical care, the defector asked, “Is this South Korea?”
After he received confirmation that he was, in fact, in South Korea, he said he would “like to listen to South Korean songs,” The Ilbo reported.
Although the defector’s name and rank have not been disclosed, the South has said it believes he is in his mid-20s and a staff sergeant in the KPA.
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