North Korean soldier defects to South through DMZ

South Korean cable channel tvN's Director Lee Myeong-han speaks during a press conference in Seoul to mark the 10th anniversary of tvN's opening on Sept. 28 2016

It was established at the end of the Korean War and acts as a buffer zone between the two countries. The armistice agreement on July 27, 1953 brought three years of active combat in the Korean War to a halt, but the two Koreas are still technically at war as no formal peace treaty was signed. The last North Korean soldier to defect crossed to the South in July of past year. An official from the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to confirm these reports. South Korea's military said Thursday that a North Ko.

Over a thousand North Koreans flee to South Korea annually, with most traveling through China and experiencing severe hardships along the way, from hunger to forced prostitution.

Defections over land through the heavily guarded 4-kilometer-wide (2.5-mile-wide) Demilitarized Zone are rare and only a few soldiers have ever managed to sneak across the inter-Korean land border. According to reports, he left the delegation and applied for asylum at the South Korea's Consulate General in Hong Kong.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday reported the soldier was known to be unarmed and that surrounding his arrival there had been no military incident, such as a gunfight between the South and the North. It is the first time since June of previous year that a North Korean soldier has defected in this way.

The defection comes at a time when the tension between North and South Korea is at an all-time high.

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