North Korea 'trying to figure out if Trump is crazy'

North Korean soldier defects to South Korea at truce village

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.

It is the second major incident to rock the heavily fortified DMZ after a North Korean guard was shot trying to flee the communist nation.

South Korea's military said it has strengthened its vigilance and readiness posture in case of a possible military provocation by the North.

The incident, which happened in broad daylight around 4 pm, comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula over the North's nuclear weapons programme.

He was taken to hospital with gunshot wounds to his elbow and shoulder, South Korean officials said.

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


"They really want to know what is his end game", said DiMaggio, a scholar at New America who specializes in talking with rogue regimes and has spent almost two decades in secret discussions with the North Koreans.

South Korean troops found the injured soldier south of the border after hearing sounds of gunfire, a Defence Ministry official said.

"His organs are extremely damaged. we do not know how long he can hold up", Lee said, describing the soldier's condition as "very serious". More than a million mines are believed to be buried inside the zone. 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.

Although there have been a handful of defections across the DMZ in recent years, escapes through the tense Joint Security Area are rare. The attack prompted Washington to fly nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate North Korea.

"He then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south across the line as he was sacked upon by other soldiers from North Korea", the UNC said in a statement.

Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, was photographed by North Korean soldiers while he stood inside one of the huts during a visit to the DMZ in March.

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