Seoul: North Koreans fire at soldier trying to defect to South

A soldier fled North Korea today – getting shot

North Korea warned at the United Nations on Monday (Nov 13) that the deployment of three USA aircraft carriers in joint navy drills with South Korea was fuelling tensions that could lead to nuclear war.

The soldier crossed to South Korea from the North Korean side of the heavily guarded Joint Security Area (JSA) to Freedom House in the South, according to the JCS.

During his trip, Trump struck a tough tone on North Korea, calling for an end to its nuclear program and saying "we hope to God we never have to use" the military strength the United States has on the Korean Peninsula.

About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the Korean War, but most travel through China.

The North's official media haven't reported the case as of Tuesday afternoon.

American presidents often visit Panmunjom and other DMZ areas during their trips to South Korea to reaffirm their security commitment to the South. Trump planned to visit the DMZ to underscore his stance against North Korea's nuclear program when he came to South Korea last week as part of an Asian tour, but his plans were thwarted by heavy fog that prevented his helicopter from landing at the border area.

The news comes as a North Korean soldier defected by running across the DMZ on Monday.

A South Korean Defense Ministry official said the three USA carriers held drills on either side of the waters separating the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

The four-day joint naval exercises by the US and South Korea, which began Saturday in waters off the South's eastern coast, were described by military officials as a clear warning to North Korea.

In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the truce village.

Panmunjomis where an armistice was signed to pause the Korean War.

It's unclear what the soldier's conditions are or why he made a decision to defect to the South.

Although there have been a handful of defections across the DMZ in recent years, escapes through the tense Joint Security Area are rare.

It said an investigation into Monday's event was ongoing.

Monday was the first time since 2007 a North Korean soldier had defected across the JSA.

Tensions have soared between the United States and North Korea following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

From there they can seek sanctuary and organise a flight to South Korea, where defectors are given assistance and prepared for life outside the hermit state.

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