President Moon Jae-in on Friday met with a group of South Korean and US soldiers guarding the border with North Korea to commend them on the way they handled the recent defection of a North Korean soldier through the heavily fortified border.
"I invited you here because I wished to personally express my gratitude as the president of the Republic of Korea," Moon said during a 30-minute meeting at Cheong Wa Dae with the South Korean and US troops stationed at the Joint Security Area, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
"At the time of the defection, you managed the situation very correctly and calmly. Thanks to you, the incident did not develop into a more dangerous situation," he added.
The JSA, also known as Panmunjom, is one of the very few places where South and North Korean troops stand face to face without a fence dividing them. The already perilous area recently become a hotspot when a man believed to be a North Korean soldier defected to South Korea through a painted inter-Korean border at the JSA on Nov. 13.