Man who crossed border into Kim Jong-un's state is former North Korean defector

The man traversed a “demilitarized zone” which contains an estimated two million landmines on the 255 mile long and 4.1 km wide strip lined with barbed wire, anti-tank traps and soldiers

North Korean recalls the horror of serving in the army

A man who defected in shock to the hermit state of Kim Jong-un is said to be a North Korean gymnast who previously defected to South Korea.

The defector was discovered by South Korean military surveillance near the eastern part of the border, officers from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

Troops were dispatched to rescue the person but could not do so and instead could only watch them run north of the border.

JCS said Monday it conducted a search operation and it is believed the defector was a man who used his gymnastics experience to conduct the daring escape.

South Korean soldiers in the “demilitarized zone”
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Yonhap News Agency reported that the man, who was not identified, defected to South Korea in November 2020.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement: “Authorities assume the person is a North Korean defector and are in the process of verifying the facts.”

The defector traversed a “demilitarized zone” which contains an estimated two million landmines on the 255 mile long and 4.4 mile wide strip guarded on both sides and lined with barbed wire, anti-tank traps and soldiers.

JCS said Monday it was conducting a search
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The illegal border crossing in South Korea occurred when North Korea has been implementing strict anti-coronavirus measures since the borders were closed in early 2020.

Although North Korea has a population of 25.78 million people, it continues to insist that no Covid cases have been reported.

Raids from South to North Korea are extremely rare, with only a handful recorded in recent years.

North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un
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However, several recent incidents in South Korea have raised concerns about security vulnerabilities or delayed responses from troops guarding the border.

When the alleged defector crossed from North Korea in 2020, he wasn’t arrested until 14 hours after crossing the border, leading to a vow by the South Korean military to strengthen security.

While thousands of North Koreans have settled in the south, crossing the demilitarized zone is rare.

A North Korean soldier across from the Chinese border town of Dandong
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REUTERS)

Most of the people flee via China
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Around 34,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea since the late 1990s, mostly via China.

In the case of Saturday, the defectors’ presence near the border went unnoticed for nearly three hours after surveillance cameras recorded the person climbing a fence and setting off alarms.

South Korean troops launched a search after spotting the defector at 9:20 p.m., but could not catch him.

Last June, South Korea announced it would accelerate the acquisition of a rail-mounted robot and an artificial intelligence video and audio system to increase security along the border.

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