A North Korean man crossed the inter-Korean border and defected to South Korea, a military official said Wednesday.
The man in his early 20s passed through the heavily armed border and was spotted by South Korean soldiers patrolling a frontline guard post at around 5 p.m. on Tuesday in Cheorwon County, some 120 kilometers northeast of Seoul, the official said.
North Korean military guard post stands in North Korea's Kaepoong, in a view from the unification observation post near the border village of the Panmunjom (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War. (AP-Yonhap News)
A team of military and intelligence officials was interrogating the man, the official said on the condition of anonymity.
Defections by crossing the Demilitarized Zone to South Korea are rare because both Seoul and Pyongyang carefully patrol their land borders. It was the first defection by land since March last year, when a North Korean soldier defected to the South.
More than 20,000 North Koreans have arrived in South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
北 주민 1명 DMZ 통해 귀순
북한 주민 1명이 15일 강원도 철원군 비무장지대(DMZ)를 통과해 귀순한 것으로 전해졌다.
16일 군 당국에 따르면 전날 오후 5시 북한 주민 김모씨가 철원군 김화읍 유곡리 부근에서 경계근무 중이던 군 장병에게 발견됐고 즉시 귀순 의사를 밝혔다.
김씨는 귀순 즉시 정보 당국에 인계돼 정확한 귀순 동기 등에 관한 조사를 받고 있는 것으로 알려졌다. (연합뉴스)