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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Seoul questions North Korean man who crossed armed border

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The person was discovered early on Tuesday close to a checkpoint on the japanese finish of the closely fortified Demilitarized Zone.

South Korea’s army says it has captured a North Korean man who crossed the closely fortified border between the 2 nations and is investigating whether or not he was making an attempt to defect.

The person was discovered at about 4:20am (19:20 GMT on Monday) close to a checkpoint on the japanese finish of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the 2 Koreas, and was taken into custody after a three-hour search, the Joint Chiefs of Workers (JCS) stated on Tuesday.

“He’s presumed to be a North Korean and we’re conducting an investigation into particulars, together with how he had come down and whether or not he wished to defect,” the JCS stated in a press release.

“We’ll give additional particulars after wrapping up the probe,” it added.

There was no uncommon motion throughout the border however the army is reviewing its safety posture within the area, it added.

About 30,000 North Koreans have fled repression and poverty for South Korea.

The overwhelming majority of the defectors first journey to neighbouring China, generally staying there for years earlier than making their manner on to the South through third nations. Solely a handful danger crossing the DMZ, which is heavily-fortified and carefully watched.

Total defections down

North Korea’s extended lockdowns to sort out COVID-19 have led to a pointy lower within the variety of defectors arriving in South Korea.

Some 200 North Koreans settled within the South final 12 months, down roughly 80 p.c from 2019 and an all-time low, Unification Minister Lee In-young stated final month, citing the reclusive state’s shutdown of its frontiers in January 2020.

The final publicly recognized case was in November when a North Korean man defected to South Korea through the eastern DMZ.

In early 2020, after months of secrecy, Seoul additionally acknowledged {that a} senior North Korean diplomat, who was appearing ambassador to Kuwait defected to the South together with his household in 2019.

About 30,000 North Koreans have fled repression and poverty for the South [File: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters]

Cross-border ties soured after denuclearisation talks between Pyongyang and Washington stalled in 2019, and anger grew final 12 months after North Korean troops shot lifeless a South Korean fisheries official who went lacking at sea.

In July, North Korean chief Kim Jong Un declared an emergency and sealed off a border city after an individual with COVID-19 signs illegally crossed the border into the North from South Korea.

North Korea has not confirmed any COVID-19 instances, though Seoul officers have forged doubt on their claims given the nation’s shut relationship with China, the place the virus first emerged.

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