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Korean soldier defects to S. Korea via truce line

Korean soldier defects to S. Korea via truce line

The soldier crossed to the south side of the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom, the only portion of the border Demilitarised Zone where forces from the two sides come face-to-face, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The soldier drove a jeep toward a guard post in the Joint Security Area just after 3 p.m. on Monday, said Col. Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

More than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the 1950-53 war, but it's very rare for soldiers to flee across the DMZ, much less the Joint Security Area.

A North Korean soldier was fighting for his life Tuesday in a South Korean hospital as new details emerged from his brazen dash for freedom across the Demilitarized Zone.

There has been speculation in both North Korea and the United States that Trump may be feigning unpredictability, emulating former USA president Richard Nixon's "Madman Theory" -whereby enemy countries were tricked into avoiding conflict with the U.S., believing Nixon would be irrational and unpredictable in his response.

Seo said the North Korean soldier appears to have been shot in five places, adding that he had his first operation on Monday.

"He has at least six gunshot wounds on his body and the penetrating wound in the abdomen is the most serious", the doctor, Lee Cook-Jong, told reporters, AFP said.

North Korean soldiers have occasionally defected to South Korea across the border.

"Our military maintains full readiness while strengthening the alert in preparation for the possibility of provocations by the North Korean army", the JCS said.

The 1953 armistice that ended the fighting but left the countries technically at war was signed in one of the blue buildings that straddle the Military Demarcation Line. South Korean troops didn't fire at the North, he said.

Trump tried to make a surprise visit to the DMZ last week, but his helicopter was forced to turn back to Seoul after heavy fog prevented it from landing at the frontier.

It wasn't immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he chose to defect. In September the North carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test, of what it described as a hydrogen bomb.