North Korean soldier crosses border to defect

The Korean Demilitarized Zone separating Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north and the Republic of Korea in the south is seen on Aug. 1, 2012. The DMZ stretches 2 kilometers apart on either side.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 15, 2015

A North Korean soldier crossed the border into South Korea and defected Monday, according to news reports.

The soldier walked into Hwacheon in Gangwon province and “expressed his will to defect,” an official with South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, who declined to be identified, told Yonhap News Agency.

Defections by North Koreans are not uncommon, and the country has increased patrols along the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone to prevent its citizens from leaving.

Last year, a total of 1,396 North Koreans, mostly civilians, defected to South Korea, Yonhap News said, although few cross the DMZ.